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Actors

Alec Guinness

Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE was an English actor. After an early career on the stage, Guinness was featured in several of the Ealing Comedies, including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets; in the latter of these he played nine different characters.

  • Born: 2 April 1914, Maida Vale, London, UK
  • Died: 5 August 2000, Midhurst, West Sussex, UK
  • Height: 1.78 m

Early life

Guinness was born Alec Guinness de Cuffe at 155 Lauderdale Mansions South, Lauderdale Road, Maida Vale in London.

His mother’s maiden name was Agnes Cuff, born on 8 December 1890 to Edward Cuff and Mary Ann Benfield.

On Guinness’s birth certificate, his mother’s name is given as Agnes de Cuffe; the infant’s name (where first names only are placed) is given as Alec Guinness, and there are no details for the father.

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The identity of Guinness’s father has never been officially confirmed. From 1875, under English law, when the birth of an illegitimate child was registered, the father’s name could be entered on the certificate only if he were present and gave his consent.

Guinness himself believed that his father was a Scottish banker, Andrew Geddes (1861–1928), who paid for Guinness’s boarding-school education at Pembroke Lodge, in Southborne, and Roborough, in Eastbourne.

Geddes occasionally visited Guinness and his mother, posing as an uncle. Guinness’s mother later had a three-year marriage to a Scottish army captain named Stiven; his behaviour was often erratic or even violent.

Personal life & Achievements

In 1959, he was knighted by Queen 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 (1979) and Smiley’s People (1982).

In 1980 he received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement.

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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.

Career

Alec Guinness was 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’ original Star Wars trilogy for which he receive a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.