Jurassic Park Actor Announces Blood Cancer Diagnosis, Bravely Confronts His Own Mortality

Actor Sam Neill, perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Alan Grant in 1993’s Jurassic Park, opened up about a 2022 diagnosis of Stage 3 blood cancer, calling the disease “ferocious” but noting he was not afraid to die either.

Neill revealed to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that while doing the requisite media rounds while promoting the 6th – and hopefully final – installment of the Jurassic Park franchise World Dominion, he noticed the glands on his neck did not feel normal. He visited a doctor and got the fateful diagnosis.

Neill, reflective of his culture, took the news stoically, although it gave him a jolt to prioritize his life and “take stock of things.”

“I thought I need to do something, and I thought, ‘Shall I start writing?'” he said to the BBC. “I didn’t think I had a book in me, I just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engrossing.” Neill said writing gave him “a reason to get through the day.”

“The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying,” he writes in the first chapter of the book he completed over the next year, “Did I Ever Tell You This?” 

Neill continued with the BBC, saying of the book: “A year later, not only have I written the book — I didn’t have a ghostwriter — but it’s come out in record time. I suspect my publishers, they’re delightful people, but I think they wanted to get it out in a hurry just in case I kicked the bucket before it was time to release the thing.”

Neill explained that while his cancer diagnosis, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, prompted the initial act of writing and is discussed at length in the final book, he made sure not to write purely about cancer because he “can’t stand cancer books.” Instead, most of the text focuses on his well-lived life.

The actor has also affirmed that he is “not afraid to die.” 

“I’m not afraid to die,” he said in an interview with the Guardian, “but it would annoy me. Because I’d really like another decade or two, you know? 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.”

That’s a powerful message from the actor, particularly after the Covid pandemic and the hysterical response to it in many blue cities and states exposed how unwilling many are to let go of life and confront death in a courageous manner. Instead, they shut down the country for months on end in the hope of living a bit longer. So, it’s good to see Neill confront death and his diagnosis head on and courageously, without fear of death, rather than pitifully scrambling over his diagnosis. Regardless, we hope he beats the blood cancer and has many years left with his family.

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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