Sam Neill has revealed that he is being treated for stage-three blood cancer.
The Jurassic Park star disclosed the news in his upcoming memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This, where he writes in the first chapter that he is ‘possibly dying.’
In an interview with The Guardian, the 75-year-old actor said: ‘The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying.’
He added: ‘I may have to speed this up. I found myself with nothing to do.
‘And I’m used to working. I love working. I love going to work. I love being with people every day and enjoying human company and friendship and all these things. And suddenly I was deprived of that. And I thought, “What am I going to do?”‘
Neill also told the BBC that he has had ‘a ferocious type of aggressive’ non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
He began writing his memoir as a distraction and to ‘give me a reason to get through the day.’
Jurassic Park star Sam Neill, 75, reveals he’s being treated for stage-three blood cancer in new book: ‘I’m crook, possibly dying’
The book will look back on the New Zealand actor’s 50-year career on screen, as well as his sudden illness.
Neill revealed that he sought medical treatment after noticing that he had lumpy glands on his neck while doing a publicity tour last year for the film Jurassic World Dominion.
The Piano star stayed calm when doctors told him of his diagnosis, and he immediately began plotting to write a book of his life.
‘I thought I need to do something, and I thought, ‘Shall I start writing?’ he told the BBC.
‘I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing.
‘A year later, not only have I written the book – I didn’t have a ghostwriter – but it’s come out in record time,’ he said proudly.
And about the literary effort he also said he ‘never had any intention to write a book.’
Sam explained, ‘But as I went on and kept writing, I realised 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.’
Tragedy struck: Neill revealed that he sought medical treatment after noticing that he had lumpy glands on his neck while doing a publicity tour last year; Pictured in 2019
Sam’s specific ailment was diagnosed as angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma.
He is now in remission but will be on chemotherapy medication for the rest of his life.
According to Lymphoma.org AITL is ‘a rare, often but not always, aggressive form of peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL).’
Statistically, this specific type of blood cancer makes up just one to two percent of all NHL cases in the United States.
The site also notes that elderly patients are more likely to be diagnosed with it.
Symptoms can include having high fever, night sweats, skin rash, and autoimmune disorders.
Reflecting on life, the seasoned actor admitted, ‘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.
‘But as for the dying? I couldn’t care less.’
The star was married to Japanese makeup artist Noriko Watanabe from 1989-2017 and they share two kids – Elena, 32, and Tim, 40.
Flashback: Sam, Joseph Mazzello, and Ariana Richards in 1993’s original Jurassic Park
Sam, who was born in Ireland and later moved to New Zealand, first appeared in 1975’s Landfall.
He went on to star in 1979’s My Brilliant Career, which was based on the novel by Miles Franklin.
Neill’s breakout international role was in Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 surreal film about divorce, Possession.
The actor told The Independent that Zulawski was ‘a genius, but crazed. He asked so much more of you than you could possibly give. He asked much more than a director should.’
Sam’s most notable role is Dr. Alan Grant, who he portrayed in the Jurassic World franchise most recently in last year’s third installment.
Longtime costar: Sam and costar Laura Dern pictured in a still from last year’s Jurassic Park: Dominion