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Birthday special: 10 interesting facts about Harrison Ford

Did you know Harrison Ford almost didn't play Indiana Jones? Or that he was a carpenter before he got his big Hollywood break? On the 73rd birthday of Harrison Ford, we dig up some interesting facts about the 'Stars Wars' actor that you might not have known

1. Harrison Ford struggled as an actor initially and instead became a self-taught carpenter to support his family. While working as a carpenter, he became a stagehand for the popular band 'The Doors'. He used his carpentry skills in films like 'Witness' (1985) and 'The Mosquito Coast' (1986). Ford enjoys carpentry so much that he pursues the craft as a hobby now.

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford. Pic/AFP

2. Ford was billed as 'Harrison J. Ford' in his first credited film role in 'A Time for Killing' (1967), but the 'J' did not stand for anything since he has no middle name. It was added to avoid confusion with another actor named Harrison Ford. However, Ford dropped the 'J' after 1970.

3. 'Star Wars' (1977) was not the first film Harrison Ford and George Lucas had collaborated for. Casting director and producer Fred Roos championed for Ford and got him an audition with Lucas for the role of Bob Falfa, which Ford went on to play in 'American Graffiti' (1973), his first film with Lucas, leading to a successful professional association over the years.

4. Ford almost didn't play Indiana Jones. Tom Selleck was first offered the role in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' (1981), but he could not commit due to date issues and Ford was roped in.

5. Harrison Ford has a scar on his chin from a car accident at the age of 20. He has addressed the mark in films like 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (1989) and 'Working Girl (1988)' by giving an explanation as to where his character received it.

6. Ford was offered the title role in 'Schindler's List' (1993) but he declined. He also turned down 'Jurassic Park' (1993) which later went to Sam Neill. 'Alien' (1979), 'Terms of Endearment' (1983) and 'Syriana' (2005) are among the popular films he declined.

7. Harrison Ford was active in the Boy Scouts of America, and achieved its second-highest rank - Life Scout. This is why director Steven Spielberg decided to depict the young Indiana Jones as a Life Scout in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (1989).

8. Ford is an active environmentalist. In 1993, he was honoured by an arachnologist who named a new species of spider Calponia harrisonfordi. In 2002, entomologist Dr Edward O Wilson named a new ant species Pheidole harrisonfordi. Ford had the honour of naming a new breed of butterfly, which he called 'Georgia' after his daughter.

9. Harrison Ford is a licensed private pilot of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He has provided emergency helicopter services on several occasions. Ford has flown his personal Bell 407 helicopter in at least two known mountain rescue missions.

10. Harrison Ford topped Forbes' list of Hollywood's Highest Paid Actors in 2009.

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