Jurassic Park Icon Sam Neill Reveals Blood Cancer Diagnosis: 'I’m Not Afraid To Die, But It Would Annoy Me'

Sam Neill as Alan Grant in Jurassic World Dominion
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Today brings more unfortunate news concerning popular actors in Hollywood. Along with The Wire and John Wick star Lance Reddick dying at the age of 60, it’s been revealed that Jurassic Park and Hunt for the Wilderpeople’s Sam Neill has been diagnosed with blood cancer. The actor addressed this health issue in an interview with a poignant statement: “I’m not afraid to die, but it would annoy me.”

Sam Neill has a memoir coming out next Tuesday called Did I Ever Tell You This?, and among the subjects discussed in the book is how he is being treated for stage-three blood cancer. While being interview by The Guardian, Neill said that he started writing vignettes about his life to both keep himself busy and act as a “salve” while he was undergoing treatment. As he recalled:

I found myself with nothing to do. And I’m used to working. I love working. I love going to work. I love being with people every day and enjoying human company and friendship and all these things. And suddenly I was deprived of that. And I thought, ‘what am I going to do?’ I never had any intention to write a book. But as I went on and kept writing, I realised it was actually sort of giving me a reason to live and I would go to bed thinking, ‘I’ll write about that tomorrow … that will entertain me.’ And so it was a lifesaver really, because I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know.

Last year saw Sam Neill reprising Dr. Alan Grant for Jurassic World Dominion for the first time since 2001’s Jurassic Park III. During the Dominion press tour, Neill experienced swollen glands and was then diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. He received chemotherapy, but when that stopped working, he started taking a chemotherapy drug and he is now cancer-free, although he will need to take this drug for the rest of his life. Should you be interested in reading Did I Ever Tell You This?, Neill made it clear that the book does not chiefly focus on his blood cancer, but rather serves as a “spiral thread” for the events from his life he goes over. Neill also had this to say:

I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments. But those dark moments throw the light into sharp relief, you know, and have made me grateful for every day and immensely grateful for all my friends. Just pleased to be alive.

In addition to Sam Neill reuniting with Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong on Jurassic World Dominion, last year also saw him briefly appearing in Thor: Love and Thunder as the actor playing Odin in another Asgardian stage production, just like he did in Thor: Ragnarok. The actor’s other credits from recent years include the Peter Rabbit movies, Blackbird, Invasion and The Twelve. He’ll next appear in the movie The Portable Door, and and he’s gearing up to work on the limited series Apples Never Fall. Oh, and let’s not forget Neill’s close calls with some major franchises, like when he auditioned for one of the Lord of the Rings movies and tried out for the James Bond movie The Living Daylights with “extreme reluctance.”

We’ll keep you apprised of any major updates concerning Sam Neill’s health, but for now, if you’d like to see how his third outing as Alan Grant went, stream Jurassic World Dominion with a Peacock subscription. You’re also welcome to look through our 2023 release schedule to figure out what movies you’ll be checking out later in the year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.