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puts LightSabre up for auction...
Neeson today waged war on Aids in Africa with
the lightsabre he used in the Star Wars prequel
The Phantom Menace. The Irish star is spearheading
a charity auction of movie memorabilia using his personal
contacts in Hollywood to get unique items for which
film buffs are expected to pay a small fortune. Among
them is the weapon he used as the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon
Jinn in the fantasy movie, the first time director
George Lucas has ever allowed one of the gadgets
to be sold.
to say the lithium crystals aren't here so it doesn't
switch on,'' said 48-year-old Neeson, as he held up
the lightsabre at a press conference in London. "It
really is a collector's item ... we're expecting to
get a lot of money for it.''
event, Movie Action for Children, is designed
to raise more than £3.5 million to pay for drugs
which will stop mothers from passing on the HIV virus
to their babies. His calls and letters to other stars
have already netted a range of items for the sale
hosted by auction house Sotheby's in New York
on March 6. Among them are Julia Roberts's
wedding dress from The Runaway Bride, Mel
Gibson's sword from Braveheart and Robert
De Niro's outfit from US box office hit Meet
is planning to make a donation of his own: "It
will probably be my original script from Schindler's
List, with coffee rings and in those days cigarette
ash. "I was going to give my sword and shield
from Rob Roy, but I kind of feel that it pales
in comparison to Mel's sword from Braveheart.
colleagues in the movie industry have reacted in an
extraordinary way to the challenge,'' he said.
is working with Unicef Ireland for which he
is a special patron... on the auction, which is sponsored
by software firm Iona Technologies. Proceeds
go to Unicef's efforts to stop mothers passing on
the HIV virus in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast.
Aids is a huge problem in many African countries with
more than half a million babies born in the continent
whose mothers have passed on the illness. Only one
in four stand a chance of making it to their fifth
birthday, but new drugs can cut the risk of transmission
by up to a half.
costs just four dollars to give a drug to the mother
and infant as soon as it is born to stop the transmission
of the HIV virus,'' said Maura Quinn, executive
director of Unicef Ireland.
Neeson added: "I'm on board because it coincides
with me being a dad of two little boys who are very
healthy, thanks be to God, but they are also very
Maura approached me about getting involved I just
in the auction, which will also include items from
Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep and possibly
Michael Jackson, will be exhibited in Los Angeles,
London and New York prior to the sale and they will
also feature in a fund-raising coffee table book.
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