In 2022, Sam Neill was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. He's now grateful to 'be alive'.

Sam Neill has provided fans with an update on his cancer battle following his diagnosis of the rare blood cancer angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma.

When chemotherapy proved ineffective in eliminating the cancer, Neill's doctor switched him to an anti-cancer drug that has successfully kept him in remission for over a year.

Neill now needs fortnightly infusions for life, although the drug's effectiveness is expected to diminish over time.

In an interview with The Herald Sun, the actor mentioned that the drug is making it increasingly difficult for him to perform everyday tasks.

"It’s just meant that every second week, it was a case of, 'Forget about the weekend'... because that would be a bit grim," he said.

"But other than that, it’s great to be alive and working and in beautiful places, like York."

Neill has been working throughout his treatment, continuing his role as a defence lawyer in the second series of The Twelve

The New Zealand actor was on a promotional tour for Jurassic World Dominion in March 2022 when he first "experienced swollen glands". Soon after, he was diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma.

Earlier this year, Neill released his memoir titled Did I Ever Tell You This? with his illness being a "spiral thread" through the story. 

Speaking to The Guardian about it, he shared how he began writing the book during treatment, noting how his memories kept him company.

Watch the trailer for Sam Neill's new film, The Portable Door. Post continues after video. 

"I found myself with nothing to do," he told the publication. 

"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," he continued.

"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."


It became a "lifesaver".

"I couldn’t have gone through that with nothing to do, you know?" Neill added.

Beyond his diagnosis, the 76-year-old writes about his career in film and television, the inner workings of celebrity culture, growing up on a farm in New Zealand and his own mortality.

"The thing is, I’m crook. Possibly dying," he writes in chapter one.

"I may have to speed this up."

Although Neill is now cancer-free, he has admitted that the medications have taken a toll.

"I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments," Neill told The Guardian. 

"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."

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In recent years, the Jurassic Park actor has appeared in Peaky Blinders, The Tudors and the Stan Original Film, The Portable Door.

He splits his time between Clyde, a small town in New Zealand, and Sydney, and still has a lot left to give.

"I'm not afraid to die, but it would annoy me," Neill said. 

"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."

This article was originally published on March 18, 2023, and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Getty.

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