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Alec Guinness

Mostly Credited As: Alec Guinness
Sometimes Credited As: Alec Guiness
Sir Alec Guinness
Mystery Guest Star

Birth Name: Alec Guinness de Cuffe
Date Of Birth: April 02, 1914 (Age 86)
Country Of Birth: United Kingdom
Birth Place: Marylebone, London, England
Date Of Death: August 05, 2000
Cause Of Death: Liver cancer (Midhurst, Sussex, England)
Height: 5' 10" (1.77 m)

Alec Guinness


Alec came into the world on April 2, 1914, in London, England to a young unmarried girl named Agnes Cuffe. Throughout his school days Alec amused his classmates by acting out stories he had invented at the age of seven while ill.

He was first a copywriter for an advertising agency, then, after studying acting, made his stage debut in 1934 as an extra at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith, London. Three years later he joined the acting company of John Gielgud and appeared in such classics as Richard II (1937), The School for Scandal (1937), The Three Sisters (1937), and The Merchant of Venice (1938). In 1938, Alec starred in a popular modern-dress version of Hamlet at the Old Vic Theatre, London. He produced Twelfth Night for the Old Vic company in 1948. While on leave from the Royal Navy during World War II, he made his New York stage debut in Flare Path (1942-43) and later appeared there in The Cocktail Party (1964) and Dylan (1964). Alec's initial screen role was as Pip's friend "Herbert Pocket" in Great Expectations (1946), which was adapted to the screen from the novel by Charles Dickens. Next came Oliver Twist (1948) and then a series of Ealing studio comedies that included the internationally popular Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949), in which Alec played the eight heirs to a dukedom; The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), with Alec as the mousy clerk turned bank robber; The Man in the White Suit (1951), with him as the chemist who invents a fabric that will never wear out; and The Captain's Paradise (1953), in which he played a lovable bigamist. Other famous films are The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), for which he won the Academy Award for best actor; Lawrence of Arabia (1962), in which he played "Prince Feisal," and possibly his most famous and (personally) hated screen appearance: Star Wars (1977), in which he played "Ben Kenobi." Later on, there was also Little Dorrit (1987), in which he played "William Dorrit." In 1980, he won a special Academy Award for memorable film performances. Alec also wrote dramatizations (The Brothers Karamazov and Great Expectations) and a film script of The Horse's Mouth and coauthored the play Yahoo (1976), in which he played the role of "Jonathan Swift."

Alec passed away due to liver cancer on August 5, 2000.

Above all, he is considered one of the most beloved and influential actors of the 20th Century. His work, his lasting impression will live on in his many appearances to entertain and influence many future generations.

Movie Credits

A Foreign Field (1993) - Amos
Kafka (1991) - The Chief Clerk
A Handful of Dust (1988) - Mr. Todd
Little Dorrit (1988) - William Dorrit
A Passage to India (1984) - Professor Godbhole
Edwin (1984) (TV) .... Sir Fennimore Truscott
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) - Obi-Wan Kenobi
Lovesick (1983) - Sigmund Freud
Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980) - Earl of Dorincourt
Raise the Titanic (1980) - John Bigalow
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) .... Obi-Wan Kenobi
Star Wars (1977) - Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi
Murder by Death (1976) - Jamesir Bensonmum
Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973) - Adolf Hitler
Scrooge (1970) - Jacob Marley's Ghost
Cromwell (1970) - King Charles I
Twelfth Night (1969) (TV) - Malvolio
The Comedians (1967) - Major Jones
The Quiller Memorandum (1966) - Pol
Hotel Paradiso (1966) - Benedict Boniface
Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago
Situation Hopeless... But Not Serious (1965) - Wilhelm Frick
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) - Marcus Aurelius
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - Prince Feisal
H.M.S. Defiant (1962) - Capt. Crawford
A Majority of One (1961) - Koichi Asano
Tunes of Glory (1960) - Maj. Jock Sinclair, D.S.O., M.M.
The Scapegoat (1959) - John Barratt/Jacques De Gue
Our Man in Havana (1959) - Jim Wormold
The Horse's Mouth (1958) - Gulley Jimson
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) - Col. Nicholson
The Swan (1956) - Prince Albert
The Ladykillers (1955) - Professor Marcus
The Prisoner (1955) - The Cardinal
To Paris with Love (1955) - Col. Sir Edgar Fraser
Father Brown (1954) - Father Brown
The Captain's Paradise (1953) - Capt. Henry St. James
Malta Story (1953) - Flight Lt. Peter Ross
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 Disraeli
Last Holiday (1950) - George Bird
A Run for Your Money (1949) - Whimple
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) - Duke Etherel & various
Oliver Twist (1948) - Fagin
Great Expectations (1946) - Herbert Pocket

... and many more.



Alec Guinness Alec Guinness Alec Guinness Alec Guinness Alec Guinness
TV Appearances

Main cast 
Smiley's People (1982)As: George Smiley
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979)As: George Smiley
Episode Cast Credits 

Great Performances (1974) 
  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - Part 1 08x01: (Sep/29/1980) As George Smiley 
  The Golden Years: (2) Monsignor Quixote 14x16: (Feb/13/1987) As Father Quixote 

The South Bank Show (1978) 
  Sir Alec Guinness 09x01: (Oct/06/1985) As Himself 
  David Lean: a Life in Film 08x15: (Feb/17/1985) As Himself 

The Academy Awards (1953) 
  The 52nd Annual Academy Awards 28x01: (Apr/14/1980) As Winner: Academy Honorary Award 
  The 30th Annual Academy Awards 06x01: (Mar/26/1958) As Winner: Best Actor (for 'The Bridge on the River Kwai') 

Hallmark Hall Of Fame (1951) 
  Caesar and Cleopatra 25x05: (Feb/01/1976) As Julius Caesar 

Thirty-Minute Theatre (1965) 
  Conversation at Night 01x142: (May/08/1969) As Himself 

The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) 
  Alec Guinness, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas 17x35: (Jun/07/1964) As Himself 

Ford Startime (1959) 
  The Wicked Scheme of Jebel Deeks 01x06: (Nov/10/1959) As Jebal Deeks 

The Golden Globes (1944) 
  The 15th Annual Golden Globe Awards 15x01: (Feb/22/1958) As Winner: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (for 'The Bridge on the River Kwai') 

The Steve Allen Show (1956) 
  Season 3, Episode 7 03x07: (Nov/03/1957) As Himself 
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Trivia

Sir Alec Guinness: Personally, I have only one great regret - that I never dared enough. If at all.

Sir Alec Guinness: Once I've done a film, it's finished. I never look at it again.

Sir Alec Guinness: Flamboyance doesn't suit me. I enjoy being elusive.

Sir Alec Guinness: I don't know what else I could do but pretend to be an actor.

Sir Alec Guinness: I gave my best performances during the war - trying to be an officer and a gentleman

Sir Alec Guinness: Essentially I'm a small part actor who's been lucky enough to play leading roles for most of his life.

Sir Alec Guinness: Failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't need one.

Sir Alec Guinness: I shrivel up every time someone mentions Star Wars to me.

Alec was offered the role of Lieutenant Colonel Barrow in Tunes of Glory. However, he said he would only accept the job if he played the role of Jock Sinclair, as he had played characters like Barrow too many times. He suggested John Mills for it.

At fourteen Alec was told, quite casually, that his real name was Guinness and that de Cuffe and Stiven were obliterated.

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