Sam Neill, best known for his role in the “Jurassic Park” film franchise, recently revealed his “ferocious” stage three blood cancer diagnosis. The 75-year-old actor told the BBC that he was diagnosed in March 2022.
In the first chapter of his new book, “Did I Ever Tell You This?” Neill wrote, “The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying.” Neill turned to writing to distract himself and give himself a reason to get through the day. During a press tour for “Jurassic World Dominion,” Neill noticed that the glands in his neck didn’t feel right. After learning his diagnosis from doctors, Neill said his response was stoic, but it made him “take stock of things.”
He told the BBC, “I thought I need to do something, and I thought, ‘Shall I start writing?’ I didn’t think I had a book in me. I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing.” Neill continued, “A year later, not only have I written the book, I didn’t have a ghostwriter, but it’s come out in record time. I suspect my publishers, they’re delightful people, but I think they wanted to get it out in a hurry just in case I kicked the bucket before it was time to release the thing.”
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The actor discusses his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis in his upcoming memoir. He emphasized that the book isn’t about his cancer because he “can’t stand cancer books.” Instead, Neill decided to focus on the exciting and fun parts of his life. According to the Mayo Clinic, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is “a type of cancer that begins in your lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting immune system. Advances in diagnosing and treating non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma have helped improve the prognosis for people with this disease.”
According to the BBC, Neill writes in his book that he lost his hair after the first round of chemotherapy, and when he looked in the mirror, he saw “a bald, wizened old man there.” He added, “More than anything, I want my beard back. I don’t like the look of my face one bit.”
However, Neill has chosen to stay positive despite his diagnosis. In an interview with The Guardian, Neill said he isn’t afraid to die, but it would irritate him. He explained, “I’m not afraid to die, but it would annoy me. Because I’d really like another decade or two, you know? We’ve built all these lovely terraces, we’ve got these olive trees and cypresses, and I want to be around to see it all mature. And I’ve got my lovely little grandchildren. I want to see them get big.”
In an Instagram video, Neill reiterated that he is “alive and kicking, and I’m going to work.” He’s set to star alongside Annette Bening in his next project, the limited series Apples Never Fall. Neill also noted that the headlines about his cancer are “tiresome” because he is very much “alive and well.” Neil’s memoir is available for purchase at multiple retailers.