‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Thor’ Star Reveals Blood Cancer Diagnosis

Sam Neill Thor and The Jungle Book
Credit: Disney / Marvel

There are some actors who may not be in the headlines as much as others, but it’s hard to think of movies that you love that they weren’t in. One of those people is Sam Neill. In his more than 50 years in Hollywood, Neill has acted in a number of hit films and television shows, including The Hunt For Red October, Peter Rabbit, Peaky Blinders, and The Tudors. He also famously starred as Dr. Alan Grant in the Jurassic Park franchise. In addition to Jurassic Park, Neill worked with Disney numerous times, starring in The Jungle Book, Bicentennial Man, Thor: Ragnarök, and Thor: Love & Thunder.

Dr. Alan Grant Sam Neill Jurassic Park

Credit: Universal

In just a few days, Neill will release his new memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?. In the book, he reveals that he is being treated for Stage Three Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma — a rare type of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Neill said that he was never planning on writing a book, but it helped as he went through treatment last year.

Neill spoke about the book — and his diagnosis — with The Guardian:

“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.”

Neill first experienced swollen glands during publicity for Jurassic World Dominion in March last year and was soon diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. He received chemotherapy, but when that started to fail, he embarked on a new chemotherapy drug which he will continue to receive monthly for the rest of his life, although he is now cancer-free.

“I can’t pretend that the last year hasn’t had its dark moments,” he said. “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.”

Sam Neill Thor Love and Thunder

Credit: Marvel

While battling is a scary prospect for many, Neill said that he is not afraid to die, but it would “annoy” him.

“I’m not afraid to die, but it would annoy me. Because I’d really like another decade or two, you know? … But as for the dying? I couldn’t care less.”

Neill has been in the entertainment industry for decades and has nearly 150 acting credits to his name, and he isn’t letting his diagnosis slow him down. Neill has five projects coming down the pike, including two projects coming out this year — The Portable Door and Scarygirl. His project Apples Never Fall is in pre-production, and Bring Him to Me is in post-production.

Sam Neill Bicetennial Man

Credit: Disney

Thor: Ragnarök and Thor: Love & Thunder are both currently available to stream on Disney+. While Disney is the studio behind 1994’s The Jungle Book, it is not yet available on Disney+. Touchstone, which is a subsidiary of Disney, created Bicentennial Man, and that film is also not yet available to stream on Disney+.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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