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Sir Alec Guinness

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Sir Alec Guinness

  • Birth 2 Apr 1914 Paddington, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
  • Death 5 Aug 2000 Midhurst, Chichester District, West Sussex, England
  • Burial Petersfield, East Hampshire District, Hampshire, England
  • Memorial ID 11784

Actor. He is best remembered for his role of 'Colonel Nicholson' in the motion picture "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" (1957), and for his role of 'Obi-Wan Kenobi' in the first three "Star Wars" films (1977 to 1983). Despite many rumors to the contrary, he never spoke the words "May the Force be with you" in any of the Star Wars movies. Born in London, England, he was raised by his mother, and never knew his father. Wanting to be an actor, he began working in advertising as an ad-copywriter and studying at the same time at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art. He debuted on stage in 1934 and was able to move to the Old Vic Theater in 1936. During World War II, he enlisted into the Royal Navy, and was commissioned in 1942. While he had a bit part in "Evensong" (1934), it is his role of Herbert Pocket in "Great Expectations" (1946) that is really considered his entry into film acting. What followed was a string of films, mostly comedies, and in "Kind Hearts and Coronets" (1949), he paid homage to British acting by playing eight separate roles in that film. He earned a best actor Oscar for his work as 'Colonel Nicholson' in "The Bridge Over the River Kwai" (1957). In 1956 he was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), and in 1959, he was knighted for his accomplishments in theater and film. In 1964, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his record album, "A Personal Choice," on which he reads a selection of his favorite poems. Considered one of the best British actors in Hollywood, and an International Star, he has worked in such films as "The Lavender Hill Mob" (1951), "Father Brown" (1954), "The Horse's Mouth" (1958 - he was nominated for an Oscar in this film), "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962), "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964), "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), "The Quiller Memorandum" (1966), "Scrooge" (1970), and "A Passage to India" (1984). In 1980, he was honored with an Honorary Academy Award for advancing the art of screen acting. He would sum up his many roles and appearances with the simple explanation, "Failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't need one." On his acting ability, he once stated "I gave my best performances during the war (World War II) - trying to be an officer and a gentleman." His autobiography, "Blessings in Disguise" was published in 1985.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 14 Aug 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11784
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sir Alec Guinness (2 Apr 1914–5 Aug 2000), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11784, citing Petersfield Cemetery, Petersfield, East Hampshire District, Hampshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .