Sam Neill, 75, is being treated for Stage 3 blood cancer, lymphoma –
“My news seems to be all over the news at the moment, and it’s sort of ‘cancer! cancer! cancer!’ which is slightly tiresome because as you see, I am alive and well,” he said in a short video posted on Instagram.
Neill, 75, told fans he had been in remission for eight months “which feels really good.” He added that he was working on an upcoming television adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel, “Apples Never Fall.”
The news about his cancer emerged during publicity for his upcoming memoir entitled, “Did I ever tell you this?” due to be released Tuesday, which mentions his diagnosis.
“The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying, I may have to speed this up,” he writes in the opening chapters, according the Guardian, which published an interview with him on Friday.
He said the book had provided a project to work on while he undertook treatment last year.
“I am used to going to work, and I suddenly couldn’t go to work — so that’s why I wrote the book,” he said in Saturday’s Instagram video. “I was very nervous, obviously, as a first-time author.”
He described the tone of the book as one of “surprise” as he never expected to make a career of acting or feature on screen.
Best known for playing paleontologist Alan Grant in the blockbuster dinosaur movie franchise, Neill told the Guardian that he first noticed swollen glands while doing publicity for “Jurassic World: Dominion” in 2022.
He was later diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and said he undertook chemotherapy and started a new chemotherapy drug, which he needs to take monthly for the rest of his life.
The cancer can be more common in the elderly and symptoms can include high fevers, skin rashes and autoimmune disorders, where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues, according to the U.S.-based Lymphoma Research Foundation. Treatment can include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and bone marrow or stem cell transplants.
“Not sure if it was the cancer news or when they mentioned you’re 75 that shocked me more,” wrote one relieved fan in response to Neill’s video.
“Jurassic Park is my favorite movie and you my favorite actor. I’m glad you are doing better/well and I cannot wait to dig into this book,” said another.
The award winning actor from Northern Ireland and New Zealand has also turned his hand in recent years to rearing animals on his New Zealand farm and is a vintner, as well as playing cricket and his ukulele, he says.
“I am full of gratitude looking back on this life,” he said. “Let’s not worry too much about ‘all that,’” he added, in reference to his health, “because I’m fine — okay!”