Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill Beats Cancer, Faces Lifelong Chemotherapy
Jurassic Park star Sam Neill revealed he must follow a lifelong chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed — and beating — stage 3 blood cancer.
The New Zealand native, 75, detailed being diagnosed with the disease and its lasting effects in his new memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This? In an excerpt from the book — which will hit shelves on Tuesday, March 21 — the Peaky Blinders alum writes, “The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying. I may have to speed this up.”
Ahead of its release, Neill confessed he didn’t initially set out to write the memoir as a reflection of his condition.
“I never had any intention to write a book,” he admitted in an interview with The Guardian on Friday, March 17. “But as I went on and kept writing, I realized it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live and I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow … that will entertain me.’ And so it was a lifesaver, really, because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.”
Neill shared that he first started experiencing symptoms while promoting Jurassic World Dominion in March 2022. After getting his swollen glands checked, he was diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. Cancer Research UK defines the condition as a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that affects blood cells which are also known as T cells.
After his diagnosis, Neill received chemotherapy which didn’t go as planned. While undergoing the treatment, the chemo began to fail and the Piano actor was forced to start a different regimen. He responded to the new drug and began to improve, sharing with the Guardian on Friday that he is currently cancer free. However, the Jurassic Park III star revealed that he must take the medicine every month for the rest of his life in order to remain healthy.
“I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments,” he told the outlet. “But those dark moments throw the light into sharp relief, you know, and have made me grateful for every day and immensely grateful for all my friends. Just pleased to be alive.”
Neill began his acting career in the 1970s but is most well known for his role in the Jurassic Park franchise as Dr. Alan Grant. He went on to star in One Against the Wind, Merlin and more. The New Zealand actor has earned three Golden Globe and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations throughout his career.