Sam Neill: Retirement is scarier than death

After revealing a cancer diagnosis earlier this year, Sam Neill says the real scare comes with retirement.

Actor Sam Neill has been quite open about his battle with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a form of blood cancer that he first revealed he had been diagnosed with earlier this year. Thankfully, Neill has been in remission from stage-three blood cancer but it is still something that he lives with. And while Neill has to undergo infusions every two weeks, what really scares him isn’t cancer but retirement.

Speaking with Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sam Neill said he feels like he has to go into his treatments and condition with a particular mindset. “I know I’ve got it, but I’m not really interested in it…It’s out of my control. If you can’t control it, don’t get into it.” And so he has kept busy, adding that retirement “fills me with horror” in a way that cancer couldn’t quite do. And so active he has been, with this year alone seeing three movies, with 2022 proving to be a successful one in its own right, as Neill reprised his cameo role as Odin (well, sort of) in Thor: Love and Thunder and his trademark character Dr. Alan Parker in Jurassic World Dominion, the movie in which he first started experiencing symptoms.

Inspired by his cancer scare, Sam Neill penned his memoir, Did I Ever Tell You This?, which is a fantastic read. On this, Neill said, “I started to look at my life and realise how immensely grateful I am for so much of it…I started to think I better write some of this down because I’m not sure how long I have to live. I was running against the clock.” Now 76, the clock is certainly something for Sam Neill to keep in mind, but that he has remained productive is quite admirable.

While Sam Neill is best known for his work in some of the Jurassic Park movies, since we are in spooky season, it’s worth hyping a couple of his horror entries, like John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness, 1989’s Dead Calm and, undoubtedly one of his best performances, as a spy going through a divorce – and something far more disturbing – in 1981’s Possession, one of my favorite horror films of the decade.

What is your favorite Sam Neill movie and/or performance? Give us your pick in the comments section below.

Originally published at



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