Actor Sam Neill Reveals He Battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma While Promoting ‘Jurassic World Dominion’
‘Jurassic Park’ star Sam Neill has revealed that while he was on tour promoting ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ last year, he was also battling stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The 75-year-old told the BBC in an interview on Friday that he first learned of his diagnosis in March 2022 after finding lumpy glands in his neck.
Neill initially thought his outlook was bleak: “I’m a crook, I’m dying,” he told the BBC were his first thoughts.
Fortunately, Neill said he is now in remission, although he still faces ‘dark days’ and tough challenges, such as losing his hair during his first cycle of chemotherapy – a treatment he is receiving still, although her tumors have disappeared.
“More than anything, I want my beard back,” Neill told the BBC. “I don’t like the way my face looks at all.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that affects the lymphatic system and occurs when white blood cells grow abnormally and develop tumors throughout the body, according to the Mayo Clinic. It is more common in people over 60 or in people with weakened immune systems.
Although cancer was a tough hurdle for Neill, he said he preferred to focus on the positives and live life to the fullest.
“I’m not afraid to die. What I don’t want to do is stop living, because I really love living,” Neill told the BBC. “I looked at it as an adventure, quite a dark adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. And the good days are just fantastic and when you get some good news it’s absolutely exhilarating.”
Neill told the BBC his ‘ferocious type of aggressive cancer’ inspired him to start writing about his life – a distraction that turned into a passion for the ‘Peaky Blinders’ actor, and the stories that he wrote quickly became a memoir in its own right about his illness and his 50-year career: “Did I Ever Tell You This?”
“I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I was writing stories. And I was finding that more and more captivating,” Neill told the BBC. “A year later, not only did I write the book – I didn’t have a ghostwriter – but it came out in record time.”
He added that his book is not about cancer, but rather about his life experiences, such as meeting Barbara Streisand.
“The last thing I want is for people to obsess over cancer because I’m not really interested in cancer,” Neill said. “I’m really not interested in anything other than living.”