By Charlotte McLaughlin, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter
Sam Neill said he has “never felt better” after revealing he has been in remission from blood cancer for several months.
The 75-year-old New Zealand actor, who was born in Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland, is best known for his role as palaeontologist Alan Grant in the science-fiction film series Jurassic Park.
In an interview about his book, Did I Ever Tell You This?, he reported he first experienced swollen glands during publicity for Jurassic World Dominion in March last year.
This is the third film in the series, about dinosaur cloning, in which he has starred after the first film Jurassic Park in 1993 and Jurassic Park III in 2001.
Neill took a break from acting following his diagnosis of stage three angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the Guardian said on Friday.
He was asked on Radio 2’s The Michael Ball Show on Sunday about how he is doing and said: “Well, I’m great, you know, I’ve been about seven or eight months in remission, and I’m back at work, and I’ve never felt better.”
He added: “I sort of approached the year as really being a bit of an adventure…(as) I didn’t know what was (going to) happen.
“A bit of a dark adventure but here we are on the other side, and I’m very optimistic and full of life and I’m so happy to be back at work, I can’t tell you.”
He reportedly discusses in his memoir receiving chemotherapy, which started to fail, before taking a new chemotherapy drug which he will take monthly for the rest of his life, despite now being cancer-free.
However, Neill has said it is not a cancer book but a collection of stories about his life.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the 1980s series Reilly, Ace Of Spies and an Emmy as the titular wizard in 1998’s Merlin opposite Fight Club actress Helena Bonham Carter and Star Wars voice actor James Earl Jones, known for portraying Darth Vader.
Neill also starred in the period drama The Piano which won best original screenplay at the Oscars in 1993 and as Major Chester Campbell in BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders alongside Cillian Murphy.
The Hollywood actor said his career has been a “great surprise” which continued when he got his most recent part in upcoming series Apples Never Fall, based on a novel by Liane Moriarty and starring American Beauty actress Annette Bening.
“I think I have been extremely blessed because it wasn’t something I sought,” he added. “It just sort of happened by degrees and surprise followed surprise.”
He also said the seven-part show “could be really rather wonderful” but he never counts his chickens before they are hatched.
Australian author Moriarty, 56, also wrote Big Little Lies which was adapted into a hit HBO series starring The Hours actress Nicole Kidman and Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon.
Did I Ever Tell You This? by Neill is on sale from March 23rd according to Waterstones.