‘Jurassic Park’ Star Sam Neill Shares Update On Battle With Rare Blood Cancer
The “Jurassic Park” star shared in March that he was diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma last year and required monthly chemotherapy treatments for the rest of his life. When these stopped working, doctors pivoted to a new drug that put Neill in remission.
The 76-year-old is now sharing what it’s like to know his cancer might return.
“I know I’ve got it, but I’m not really interested in it,” Neill told “Australian Story” in an interview published by the regional program Sunday. “It’s out of my control. If you can’t control it, don’t get into it.”
Neill added that he still requires bimonthly infusions of the anti-cancer drug, which has kept him in remission for 12 months. While his doctors have prepared him for the difficult fact that this will eventually stop working, Neill said Sunday: “I’m prepared for that.”
The New Zealander told the program he’s “not remotely afraid” of death and that this would be more “annoying” than anything because he loves his job. Neill called the side effects of his treatment “depressing” but said the prospect of retiring from acting “fills me with horror.”
The father of four learned he had cancer after finding lumps in his neck while promoting “Jurassic World: Dominion” in 2022. His lifelong friend, actor Bryan Brown, suggested Neill might have gotten COVID on a plane — only for Neill to get a definitive blood test.
“A day or two later he rang me, and he said, ‘I’ve got cancer.’ And that was the start of it,” Brown told “Australian Story.” “He wasn’t hysterical or anything like that. He dealt with it pretty well just straight on, ‘this is what I’ve got to deal with now. Let’s get on with it.’”
Neill decided to use his spare time between treatments to write a memoir to leave his children and grandkids with “a sense of me.” He told “Australian Story” that “it would be great for them to have some of my stories,” as he “mightn’t be here in a month or two.”
His hematologist, Dr. Orly Lavee, told “Australian Story” that they “may need to think about a third line option” when Neill’s current treatment stops working, however. Neill, who said his treatment leaves him ill every time he gets an infusion, is always grateful when that fog lifts. He added this leads to 10 regular days of joy, energy and gratitude:
“Ten days, in which I could not feel more alive or pleased to be breathing and looking at a blue sky.”