Sam Neill Reveals Stage-3 Blood Cancer Diagnosis in New Memoir

Sam Neill
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Jurassic Park and Peaky Blinders star Sam Neill revealed in his upcoming memoir that he underwent treatment for a stage-three blood cancer diagnosis last year. He’s now cancer-free, but the book details how the ordeal impacted his outlook on life.

The memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This? will be released on Tuesday, March 21. The 75-year-old shares details of his angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma diagnosis and treatment in it. He opened up more about his feelings about mortality and more in a new interview with The Guardian.

“The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying,” he says in chapter one. “I may have to speed this up.”

Speaking with The Guardian from his farm in the Central Otago area of New Zealand, Neill said, “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?” he added. “I couldn’t care less.”

Neill first noticed a symptom of blood cancer (swollen glands) while doing press for Jurassic World Dominion in March of 2022. After his initial chemotherapy treatment started to fail, he began taking a “very expensive” chemotherapy drug that helped him get to his current cancer-free status. But he will continue to receive the medication monthly for the rest of his life. Neil also reveals that he signed a deal with the drug company that if he were still alive after four months of taking it, the medication would then become free.

“Have you noticed I have a slight look of lab rat about me?” he jokes.

Writing Did I Ever Tell You This? became a “lifesaver” during the treatments.

“I found myself with nothing to do,” Neill told the outlet. “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?’”

“I never had any intention to write a book. 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,” he continued. “And so it was a lifesaver really because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.”

“I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments,” the star added. “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 is now back at work and set to star in the upcoming Peacock limited series Apples Never Fall alongside Annette Bening, Alison Brie, and Jake Lacy. It’s based on the Liane Moriarty novel of the same name.