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Australian Story: Sam Neill (ABC TV Monday 16 October 2023)

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Australian Story

Sam Neill was at the height of his career when a sore neck forced him to see a doctor.

Sam received a devastating diagnosis of an aggressive blood cancer and had to undergo treatment immediately.

Sam, who is now cancer-free, says he had to face his own mortality as a result of his ordeal.

“One of the things I’ve learnt … is how important it is to live in the moment,” says Sam.

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“We don’t ruminate on mortality, the pair of us,” says best mate and fellow actor Bryan Brown. “But he’s had to deal with something big.”

He took to writing during his chemotherapy sessions in an effort to leave a record of his life for his offspring and grandchildren.

“He was on a lot of steroid medication, which gave him a lot of energy and … he burned the midnight oil by writing chapters and chapters of this book at an incredible pace,” says his haematologist, Dr Orly Lavee.

What Sam is most worried about these days is the “R” word.

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“The idea of retirement fills me with horror,” he says. “Not to be able to do the things you love would be heartbreaking.”

Sam has returned to acting and winemaking in his native New Zealand.

“I’m not in any way frightened of dying, but I would be annoyed. I’d be annoyed because there are things I still want to do.”

Australian Story: Sam Neill airs Monday 16 October 2023 at 8.00pm on ABC TV.

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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