Sir Alec Guinness (2 April 1914 – 5 August 2000) was an English actor. After an early career on the stage, he was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets in which he played eight different characters. He is also known for his six collaborations with David Lean: Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations (1946), Fagin in Oliver Twist (1948), Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor), Prince Faisal in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), General Yevgraf Zhivago in Doctor Zhivago (1965), and Professor Godbole in A Passage to India (1984). He is also known for his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy, receiving a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Guinness was one of three major British actors, along with Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, who successfully made the transition from Shakespearean theatre in their home country to Hollywood blockbusters immediately after the Second World War. He has also won a BAFTA Award, Golden Globe, and a Tony Award, as well as an Academy Award. In 1959, he was knighted by Elizabeth II for services to the arts. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement in 1980, and the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 1989.
|General Yevgraf Zhivago in Doctor Zhivago|
In films, Guinness was initially associated mainly with the Ealing Comedies, and particularly for playing eight different characters in Kind Hearts and Coronets. Other films from this period included The Lavender Hill Mob, The Ladykillers, and The Man in the White Suit. In 1952, director Ronald Neame cast Guinness in his first romantic lead role, opposite Petula Clark in The Card. In 1951, exhibitors voted him the most popular British star.
Other notable film roles of this period included The Swan (1956) with Grace Kelly, in her second-to-last film role; The Horse's Mouth (1958) in which Guinness played the part of drunken painter Gulley Jimson, as well as writing the screenplay, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award; the lead in Carol Reed's Our Man in Havana (1959); Marcus Aurelius in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964); The Quiller Memorandum (1966); Marley's Ghost in Scrooge (1970); Charles I in Cromwell (1970); Pope Innocent III in Franco Zeffirelli's Brother Sun, Sister Moon (1972); and the title role in Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), which he considered his best film performance, though critics disagreed. Another role which is sometimes referred to as one which he considered his best, an is so considered by many critics, is that of Colonel Jock Sinclair in Tunes of Glory (1960). Guinness also played the role of Jamessir Bensonmum, the blind butler, in the 1976 Neil Simon film Murder by Death.
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Kind Hearts and Coronets is a British black comedy film of 1949 starring Dennis Price, Joan Greenwood, Valerie Hobson, and Alec Guinness, who famously plays eight distinct characters.