“Jurassic Park” star Sam Neill revealed that while touring to promote “Jurassic World Dominion” last year, he was also battling stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
75 years old he told the BBC In an interview on Friday, he first learned of his diagnosis in March 2022 after finding lumpy glands in his neck.
Neil initially thought his prospects were bleak: “I’m a fraud, I’m dying”, he told the BBC it was his first thoughts.
Fortunately, Neil said he’s in remission now, though he still faces “dark days” and tough challenges, such as losing his hair during his first round of chemotherapy — treatment he’s still receiving, even though his tumors are gone.
“I want my beard more than anything else,” Neil told the BBC. “I don’t like the look of my face a bit.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system, and it occurs when white blood cells grow abnormally, and tumors grow throughout the body, according to Mayo Clinic. It is more common in people over 60 years of age, or in people with weakened immune systems.
While cancer has been a difficult hurdle for Neil, he said he prefers to focus on the positives and on living life to the fullest.
Neil told the BBC: “I’m not afraid of dying. What I don’t want to do is stop living, because I really enjoy living.” “I took it as an adventure, a rather dark adventure, but an adventure nonetheless. And the good days are just wonderful and when you get some good news it’s very exhilarating.”
Neil told the BBC that his “vicious kind of cancer” inspired him to start writing about his life – a distraction that turned into a passion for the “Peaky Blinders” actor, and the stories he was writing soon became full-fledged memoirs of his life. His illness and his 50-year career: “Have I ever told you this?”
“I didn’t think I had a book in me, just thought I’d write some stories. And I found it increasingly engaging,” Neil told the BBC. “A year later, not only did I write the book—I didn’t have a ghostwriter—but it came out in record time.”
He added that his book is not about cancer, but about his life experiences, such as meeting Barbra Streisand.
“The last thing I want is for people to care about cancer because I don’t really care about cancer,” Neil said. “I’m not really interested in anything other than living.”