Alec Guinness

Biography

Alec Guinness was an English actor. He is 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). Guinness is really most remembered for his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy for which he receive a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1959, he was knighted by Elizabeth II for services to the arts. In the 1970s, Guinness made regular television appearances in Britain, including the role of George Smiley in the serialisations of two novels by John le Carré: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People. In 1980 he received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement. Guinness was also one of three British actors, along with Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, who made the transition from Shakespearean theatre in England to Hollywood blockbusters immediately after the Second World War. Guinness died on 5 August 2000, from liver cancer, at Midhurst in West Sussex.