Sam Neill shares blood cancer update as he reveals he’s ‘not remotely afraid’ of death

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Sam Neill has been warned by doctors that his cancer treatment drug will stop working at some point, the actor said as he provided a health update months after revealing that he had been diagnosed with stage-three blood cancer.

Earlier this year, the Jurassic Park star released his memoir Did I Ever Tell You This?, in which he revealed that he was being treated for angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma.

At the time, Neill shared that he had originally undergone chemotherapy, but that the cancer had soon stopped responding. He then went onto an experimental anti-cancer drug.

In a new interview, Neill, 76, shared that he’d upped his dosage of the “grim and depressing” drug from once a month to every two weeks. However, he said, he has now been in remission for 12 months.

Neill told ABC’s Australian Story that while he would be on the treatment indefinitely, doctors have told him that, at some point, it will stop working.

“I’m prepared for that,” he said, adding that he is “not remotely afraid” of death.

The Piano star said that he had first found lumps in his neck in early 2022, and soon learnt that he had cancer.

Actor shared that he was undergoing treatment in March (Getty Images for The Star)
Actor shared that he was undergoing treatment in March (Getty Images for The Star)

“I started to look at my life and realise how immensely grateful I am for so much of it,” Neill said. “I started to think I better write some of this down because I’m not sure how long I have to live. I was running against the clock."

First sharing his cancer diagnosis in March, the New Zealand actor – who is best known for playing palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park franchise – said that dying would “annoy” him.

“I’d really like another decade or two, you know?” he said. “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. But as for the dying? I couldn’t care less.”

In an interview with The Independent earlier this year, however, Neill threw out the idea of retiring. “The idea of giving up my day job? Intolerable!” he said.

“I love acting. It’s really good for me to keep walking onto new sets with young actors and all that stimulation. New words, new ideas, there’s nothing like it. I never want to give that up. The idea of retirement, of having to play golf, fills me with untold dread,” he said.