Countdown to 'Star Wars'

Today is Liam Neeson’s birthday

Powerful Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) prepares to take on a squadron of battle droids in “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.”
Powerful Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) prepares to take on a squadron of battle droids in “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.” Bill Kaye

Happy birthday Liam Neeson.

The Irish actor - who played Qui-Gon Jinn in “Star Wars: Epsiode 1 - The Phantom Menace” - turns 62 today. The film opened in 1999.

Neeson only got to play the character in one film because of a deadly lightsaber battle between Jinn and Darth Maul. Jinn’s last words to Obi-Wan is to train Anakin in the ways of the Force.

His ability to handle both the physical and mental demands of action films like “Phantom Menace” go back to his youth when he was an amateur boxer.

“The discipline of going to a gym and hitting a heavy bag gives you a respect for hard work as well as keeping you reasonably fit. Its a discipline you have to apply if you’re lucky enough to get films. There’s a discipline to getting up at 6, working 17 hours and coming home to work out or rest, “ Neeson told me.

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