The world of show business was rocked this week when renowned actor Sam Neil of Jurassic Park fame revealed that he is undergoing treatment for stage-three cancer, as the U.K. Guardian reports.
Neil, 75, informed fans of his health status via the first chapter of a new memoir set for release on Tuesday, in which he declared, “The thing is, I'm crook. Possibly dying. I may have to speed this up.”
As the Guardian notes, Neil began putting pen to paper and recounting stories from his life as a means to remain occupied while receiving chemotherapy for angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, an illness for which he will continue to be treated for the rest of his life.
“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,” Neil explained.
Noting that he never planned to author a book of any sort, Neil added, “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,” Neil said, highlighting the therapeutic nature of the creative process.
Born in Northern Ireland, where he spent his young childhood, Neal moved to New Zealand in 1954, and after earning a degree in English Literature, began embarking on a career in the theater, according to IMDB.com.
Though many filmgoers known him primarily for his role in Jurassic Park, Neil boasts a long list of memorable performances in films such as The Piano, The Horse Whisperer, Escape Plan, and more.
Neil's television credits are also voluminous, with the actor earning Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for the 1998 miniseries Merlin and delivering riveting portrayals in series such as The Tudors and Peaky Blinders.
In 1991, Neil was honored with an appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire in acknowledgment of his significant body of work as an actor.
Unsurprisingly, in the wake of his cancer revelation, Neil became the subject of a deluge of press reports and expressions of concern from fans all over the world, which prompted him to provide reassurances to his legions of admirers, as People reported.
Lamenting that his cancer diagnosis “seems to be all over the news at the moment,” Neal remarked that it had become “slightly tiresome, because as you see, I am alive and well, and I have been in remission for eight months, which feels really good.”
Even so, Neil explained his take on the hand he has been dealt in a recent interview with the Guardian from his New Zealand home, saying, “I am not afraid to die, but it would annoy me. 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,” Neil mused philosophically, “I couldn't care less.”