Alec Guinness was one of the last surviving members
of a great generation of UK actors, which included Sir Laurence
Olivier, Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson. He juggled
working in advertising while studying at the Fay Compton Studio
of Dramatic Art, graduating to debut on stage in 1934 and play
classic theatre with the Old Vic from 1936.
In 1941 he entered the Royal
navy as a seaman and was commissioned the next year. Beyond an
extra part in 'Evensong' (1934), his film career began after
World War II with his portrayal of "Herbert Pocket"
in 'Great Expectations' (1946). A string of films, mostly comedies,
showed off his ability to look different in every role - eight
of them, including a woman, in one movie alone, 'Kind Hearts
and Coronets' (1949).
He was best known as the Jedi
Knight "Obi-Wan Kenobi" in the 'Star Wars' (1977) trilogy.
He earned a best actor Oscar and Golden Globe in 'The Bridge
on the River Kwai' (1957) and an Honorary Academy Award (1980)
for "advancing the art of screen acting through a host of
memorable and distinguished performances". Academy nominations
have included 'The Lavender Hill Mob' (1951), 'The Horse's Mouth'
(1958) (as screenwriter), 'Star Wars' (1977) and 'Little Dorrit'
He was awarded a CBE (Commander
of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 1955 and
knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959 for his accomplishments
in theatre and film. Sir Alec was created a Companion of Honour
Sir Alec made his final stage
appearance at the Comedy Theatre in London on May 30 1989, in
a production called 'A Walk in the Woods', where he played a
Russian diplomat. Always a plain speaker, with many quirks, in
his last book of memoirs, "A Positively Final Appearance"
(1999), he expressed a devotion to the TV show 'The Simpsons'.
He was also rumoured to be a fan of the television series 'Due
South'. He wrote two other autobiographies: "Blessings in
Disguise" in 1985 and "My Name Escapes Me: Diary of
a Retiring Actor" in 1997 (written with John LeCarre).
Described as "one of the
finest actors of the century", one of his most famous quotes
is: "Failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't
Sir Alec passed away on 5 August
2000, from liver cancer. His widow, Merula, passed away on October
17 2000, just two months after her husband.
- Mute Witness (1994) (as Mystery
Guest Star) .... The Reaper
- A Foreign Field (1993) ....
- Kafka (1991) .... The Chief
- Little Dorrit (1988) .... William
- A Handful of Dust (1988) ....
- A Passage to India (1984) ....
- Star Wars (1983) (VG) (voice)
.... Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Star Wars: Episode VI - Return
of the Jedi (1983) .... Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
- Lovesick (1983) .... Sigmund
- Raise the Titanic (1980) ....
- Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire
Strikes Back (1980) .... Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi
- Star Wars (1977) .... Ben (Obi-Wan)
- Murder by Death (1976) ....
Jamesir Bensonmum / Irving Goldman / Marvin Metzler / Miss Irene
Twain / Rita / Sam Diamond
- Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973)
.... Adolf Hitler
- Fratello sole, sorella luna
(1972) .... Pope Innocent III
- Scrooge (1970) .... Jacob Marley's
- Cromwell (1970) .... King Charles
- The Comedians (1967) .... Major
- The Quiller Memorandum (1966)
- Hotel Paradiso (1966) .... Benedict
- Situation Hopeless... But Not
Serious (1965) .... Wilhelm Frick
- Doctor Zhivago (1965) .... Gen.
- The Fall of the Roman Empire
(1964) .... Marcus Aurelius
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962) ....
- H.M.S. Defiant (1962) .... Capt.
- A Majority of One (1961) ....
- Tunes of Glory (1960) .... Maj.
- Our Man in Havana (1959) ....
- The Scapegoat (1959) .... John
Barratt/Jacques De Gue
- The Horse's Mouth (1958) ....
- Barnacle Bill (1957) .... William
Horatio Ambrose/six ancestors
- The Bridge on the River Kwai
(1957) .... Colonel Nicholson
- The Swan (1956) .... Prince
- The Ladykillers (1955) ....
- The Prisoner (1955) .... The
- To Paris with Love (1955) ....
Col. Sir Edgar Fraser
- Father Brown (1954) .... Father
- The Malta Story (1953) ....
Flight Lt. Peter Ross
- The Square Mile (1953) (voice)
- The Captain's Paradise (1953)
.... Captain Henry St. James
- The Card (1952) .... Edward
Henry 'Denry' Machin
- The Man in the White Suit (1951)
.... Sidney Stratton
- The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
.... Henry Holland
- The Mudlark (1950) .... Benjamin
- Last Holiday (1950) .... George
- A Run for Your Money (1949)
- Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
.... The Duke / The Banker / The Parson / The General / The Admiral
/ Young Ascoyne / Young Henry / Lady Agatha
- Oliver Twist (1948) .... Fagin
- Great Expectations (1946) ....
Herbert Pocket, Pip's roommate at Barnards Inn
- Evensong (1934) (uncredited)
.... Extra (W.W.I. soldier in concert audience)
- Eskimo Day (1996) .... James
- Tales from Hollywood (1992)
.... Heinrich Mann
- Monsignor Quixote (1985) ....
- Edwin (1984) .... Sir Fennimore
- Smiley's People (1982) (mini)
.... George Smiley
- Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980)
.... Earl of Dorincourt
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
(1980) (mini) .... George Smiley
- The Gift of Friendship (1974)
- E.E. Cummings (1970)
- Twelfth Night (1969) .... Malvolio
- The Wicked Scheme of Jebal Deeks
- Baker's Dozen (1955)
- Played Richard III in Stratford
Festival's tent theatre during its inaugural season (1953)
- Hamlet in Hamlet
- Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
- Dylan Thomas in Dylan
- The Visitor in Converstions
- Gloucester in Richard III
- Fool in King Lear
- Osric in Hamlet
- Jack in Importance Of Being
- The Cardinal in The Prisoner
- Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth
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