Sam Neill has given this week a terrible news for his fans. The New Zealand actor known for Jurassic Park is undergoing treatment for a cancer that has spread throughout his blood. At 75 years old, he has revealed that he is in a very complex moment in his life, and that he knows he will die soon.
In the middle of the tour he made last year around the world to promote Jurassic World: Dominion, the latest installment of the saga in which he returned in his role as Alan Grant, the actor was diagnosed with his disease. It is Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that directly affects the immune system.
Willing to make his mark before leaving the world, Neill set about writing his memoirs, which will be released on March 21 in U.S. and English bookstores. The title of the biography is Did I Ever Tell You This and, as the actor says, “as I was writing I realized that I was giving myself a reason to live”.
The first chapter of his memoirs, revealed through his exclusive for The Guardian, begins with the most devastating sentence anyone can say: “I’m finished. Possibly, I’m dying“. Although in the interview he explains that he would like to live another decade or two, and that he is undergoing expensive treatment, he knows that his end is near.
But far from giving in to the disease, as soon as he was told what had happened he decided to tell his story. “I found myself with nothing to do, and I’m used to working. I love to enjoy people, their company and their friendship. And suddenly I was deprived of that,” he explains. So, he set to work on his memoirs, a text that is sure to have all kinds of interesting anecdotes about her life.
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Although born in Omagh (Northern Ireland) in 1947, Sam Neill is an actor originally from New Zealand. His father was stationed in Northern Ireland (UK) serving in the Irish Guards after WWII. But they soon returned home to New Zealand, where he grew up.
There he spent much of his childhood on a farm, surrounded by animals and nature. Although he moved several times during his youth due to his father’s work, Neill always maintained a strong bond with New Zealand, the place he considers home.
After finishing high school, Neill attended the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, where he studied English literature and politics. During his university years, he also discovered his passion for theater and began acting in student productions.
After graduating from university, Neill worked briefly as a journalist before deciding to follow his passion for theater. It was here that he joined a theater company in Christchurch and began performing professionally in New Zealand and Australia. During this time, he also married and had a son, but was still far from becoming the actor we all know.
It was in the late seventies when Sam Neill began to dabble in film, with small roles in movies and TV series. But his role in the horror film The Omen III, released in 1981, catapulted him into Hollywood. Although the film was far from being as successful as the first one, it caught the attention of many producers and directors, who saw in his performance a very promising material.
During the eighties, Neill participated in all kinds of small films such as The Good Wife (1987), Plenty (1985) or Dread Calm (1989). But, as we all know, his big break came in the nineties. After participating in more prestigious films like Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992) or The Piano (1993), he got the call from Steven Spielberg to appear in Jurassic Park: and everything changed in his life.
His leading role as Doctor Alan Grant surprised viewers. Despite keeping a low profile, Neill had a spectacular charisma, and his duo with Laura Dern conquered Hollywood. This was only the first film in a saga that would feature him again, but his career had already taken off beyond that.
As his career grew, the actor also continued to explore his love of nature and viticulture. In 1993, he bought an estate in New Zealand and turned it into a winery called Two Paddocks, which has become a successful venture in the wine industry. Considering that he is a descendant of the country’s largest liquor distributor, his passion for it is not surprising.
After Jurassic Park, Neill appeared in dozens of productions ranging from major films such as The Bicentennial Man (1999) or Thor: Ragnarok (2017) to mythical series such as Alcatraz or Peaky Blinders. Undoubtedly, this last series has given him one of the best roles of his entire career.
With his sights set on continuing acting but knowing that his life may soon come to an end, Neill gives us a memoir of a life full of effort and talent. Now we can only hope that everything goes well and that we can continue to enjoy him for many more years.