Beloved Actor Sam Neill Reveals Cancer Diagnosis in New Memoir
by FARUK IMAMOVIC | VIEW 319
Award-winning actor Sam Neill, renowned for his work in the Jurassic Park franchise and The Piano, has revealed that he has been battling stage-three blood cancer. The news was made public through his newly released memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This? In his memoir, Neill shares that he has been undergoing treatment for angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer, since last year.
“I’m crook. Possibly dying,” writes Neill in the book's opening chapter. “I may have to speed this up”. Neill explains that he first noticed symptoms of the illness while promoting Jurassic World Dominion last year.
After experiencing swollen glands, he underwent chemotherapy, which was later replaced with a new chemotherapy drug. While he is now cancer-free, he will continue to receive monthly treatments for the rest of his life. “I’m not afraid to die,” he says, “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”.
Living a life without pretense
In his memoir, Neill reflects on the significance of his life and what he has accomplished thus far. He shares that while he is grateful for his success, he would not trade his life for that of a celebrity's, no matter how rich or famous they might be.
“I have a number of friends who are real celebrities, you’d know who they are, and I wouldn’t swap my life for theirs for a moment, even though they’re immensely rich and, you know, immensely famous,” he says.
“There’s a complete lack of privacy for one thing, and privacy is very, very, very important. I can walk down the street in Surry Hills and get my coffee, and nobody bothers me, you know? And there’s no paparazzi.
My life is my own”.
Acting amidst cancer treatment
Despite his cancer diagnosis, Neill continues to act. Reports from last month indicate that he has joined the cast of Apples Never Fall, a new limited series co-starring Annette Bening.
The series, adapted from the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, will see Neill and Bening play former tennis coaches who sell their sports academy and prepare for retirement, only for Bening's matriarch to disappear.
Writing as therapy
During his cancer treatment, Neill found solace in writing. “I found myself with nothing to do,” he says. “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?” Writing became a source of comfort for him. He notes that writing his memoir gave him a purpose, which helped him cope with his illness. “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. And so it was a lifesaver really, because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know”.