Jurassic Park star, Sam Neill, recently revealed that he is undergoing treatment for stage 3 blood cancer. The New Zealand actor starred as paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster dinosaur action adventure. The actor later returned to the franchise, reprising his role for Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World Dominion, the third-highest-grossing film of 2022 behind Avatar: The Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick respectively.
Neill recently spoke to the Guardian about his new memoir Did I Ever Tell You This? and discussed his diagnosis with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Jurassic Park actor admitted that he began writing his memoirs as a way to keep busy during the chemotherapy treatment, but found that the book encouraged him to keep on fighting. Read what Neill said below:
I found myself with 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?”
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.
I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments. 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.
How Sam Neill Became One of the Biggest Stars of His Generation
Born in Northern Ireland and raised in New Zealand, Neill fought a persistent stutter to land roles in the New Zealand film and television industry throughout the 1970s. He soon starred in a number of major Australian productions by the end of the decade, most notably as Ben Dawson in the hit period drama, The Sullivans. 1981 saw Neill’s break into Hollywood with Omen III: The Final Conflict as the starring role. Although the film was critically panned, Neill was praised for his performance.
Neill’s career continued on an upward trajectory throughout the 1980s, starring in acclaimed writer-director Andrzej Żuławski’s cult classic Possession, earning a Golden Globe nomination for portraying spy Sidney Reilly in the mini-series Reilly, Ace of Spies, as well as leading the taught psychological thriller Dead Calm, a film The New York Times called one of the 1000 best films ever made.
The actor showed no signs of slowing in the 1990s with Neill seeing great success in The Hunt for Red October, Jurassic Park, The Piano, and Paul W.S. Anderson’s science-fiction horror Event Horizon. More recently, Neill shined in Taika Waititi’s acclaimed New Zealand set dramedy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Neill can next be seen in Jeffrey Walker’s The Portable Door, an upcoming fantasy comedy starring Inglorious Basterds‘ Christoph Waltz, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ Miranda Otto, and Shadow and Bone‘s Patrick Gibson.
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