Actor Sam Neill, best known for his roles in the “Jurassic Park” movie franchise, revealed this week that he has been receiving treatment after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer.
The 75-year-old told the BBC that he was diagnosed 12 months ago with “a ferocious type of aggressive” stage three non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Neill said that he decided to write a book to distract him from the diagnosis.
“I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing,” he said. “A year later, not only have I written the book — I didn’t have a ghost writer — but it’s come out in record time.”
He said that the toughest part of undergoing chemotherapy was losing his hair. “More than anything I want my beard back,” he said. “I don’t like the look of my face one bit.”
“I’m not afraid of dying,” he said. “What I don’t want to do is to stop living, because I really enjoy living. I’ve regarded it as an adventure, quite a dark adventure, but an adventure nevertheless. And the good days are just fantastic and when you get some good news it’s absolutely exhilarating.”
“The last thing I want is for people to obsess about the cancer thing,” he later added, “because I’m not really interested in cancer. I’m not really interested in anything other than living.”
Neill gave an update about his condition on Saturday morning in a post on Instagram, saying that he’s been “in remission for eight months.”
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“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 and I have been in remission for eight months, which feels really good,” he said. “And I’m alive and kicking and I’m going to work. I’m very happy to be going back to work. We start filming in seven days’ time. I’m doing a thing called ‘Apples Never Fall’ with Annette Bening, and a really wonderful cast.”
“So here I am, and I just wish the headline wasn’t ‘that thing’ so much, because the main thing is that I have written this book, it’s called, ‘Did I Ever Tell You This?’” he said. “And it does mention cancer because that’s the sort of context in which I wrote it. But I didn’t really mean to write a book, I needed something to do while I was undergoing treatment, and I am used to going to work and I suddenly couldn’t go to work. So that’s why I wrote the book, and I have to say there’s been great response to it. People seem to love it, which is great.”
He later stressed that people should “not worry too much” about the cancer news “because I’m fine. Okay!”