Alec Guinness

Actor, Advertising copywriter
Sir Alec Guinness, acting's preeminent master of disguise, first drew attention as Fagin, providing a wonderfully Dickensian performance that totally concealed the actor within in David Lean's "Oliver Twist" (1948). His ... Read more »
Born: 04/02/1914 in London, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (58)

Interview Day 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

Mute Witness 1995 (Movie)

The Reaper (Actor)

Tales From Hollywood 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Kafka 1991 (Movie)

The Chief Clerk (Actor)

Twelfth Night 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

A Handful of Dust 1988 (Movie)

Mr Todd (Actor)

Little Dorrit 1988 (Movie)

William Dorrit (Actor)

Grace Kelly -- The American Princess 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

A Passage to India 1984 (Movie)

Professor Godbole (Actor)

Lovesick 1983 (Movie)

Sigmund Freud (Actor)

Return of the Jedi 1983 (Movie)

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Actor)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Actor

Raise the Titanic 1980 (Movie)

John Bigalow (Actor)

The Empire Strikes Back 1980 (Movie)

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Actor)

Star Wars 1977 (Movie)

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Actor)

Caesar and Cleopatra 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

Murder By Death 1975 (Movie)

Butler Bensonmum (Actor)

Hitler: The Last Ten Days 1973 (Movie)

Adolf Hitler (Actor)

Brother Sun, Sister Moon 1972 (Movie)

Pope Innocent III (Actor)

Cromwell 1970 (Movie)

King Charles I (Actor)

Scrooge 1970 (Movie)

Marley's Ghost (Actor)

The Comedians 1967 (Movie)

Major Jones (Actor)

The Quiller Memorandum 1966 (Movie)

Poll (Actor)

Doctor Zhivago 1965 (Movie)

Yevgraf (Actor)

Hotel Paradiso 1965 (Movie)

Benedeict Boniface (Actor)

Situation Hopeless - But Not Serious 1965 (Movie)

Herr Wilhelm Frick (Actor)

The Fall of the Roman Empire 1963 (Movie)

Marcus Aurelius (Actor)

Lawrence of Arabia 1962 (Movie)

Prince Faisal (Actor)

A Majority of One 1961 (Movie)

Koichi Asano (Actor)

H.M.S. Defiant 1961 (Movie)

Captain Crawford (Actor)

Tunes of Glory 1960 (Movie)

Lieutenant Colonel Jock Sinclair (Actor)

Our Man in Havana 1959 (Movie)

James Wormold (Actor)

The Scapegoat 1958 (Movie)

Jacques DeGue (Actor)

All at Sea 1957 (Movie)

Ambrose's Six Ancestors (Actor)

The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 (Movie)

Colonel Nicholson (Actor)

The Horse's Mouth 1957 (Movie)

Gulley Jimson (Actor)

The Swan 1956 (Movie)

Prince Albert (Actor)

The Ladykillers 1955 (Movie)

Professor Marcus (Actor)

The Prisoner 1955 (Movie)

Prisoner (Actor)

Father Brown 1954 (Movie)

Father Brown (Actor)

The Stratford Adventure 1954 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

To Paris With Love 1954 (Movie)

Colonel Sir Edgar Fraser (Actor)

Malta Story 1953 (Movie)

Peter Ross (Actor)

Captain's Paradise 1952 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Promoter 1952 (Movie)

Edward Henry Machin (Actor)

The Lavender Hill Mob 1951 (Movie)

Henry Holland (Actor)

The Man in the White Suit 1950 (Movie)

Sidney Stratton (Actor)

Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949 (Movie)

Young Henry (Actor)

Oliver Twist 1947 (Movie)

Fagin (Actor)

A Foreign Field (TV Show)

Actor

Caesar and Cleopatra (Movie)

(Actor)

David Lean: A Life in Film (TV Show)

Actor

Laurence Olivier -- A Life (TV Show)

Actor

Little Lord Fauntleroy (TV Show)

Actor

Monsignor Quixote (TV Show)

Actor

Smiley's People (TV Show)

Actor

The Mudlark (Movie)

Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (Actor)

The Oracle (Movie)

Gulley Jimson (Actor)

Biography

Sir Alec Guinness, acting's preeminent master of disguise, first drew attention as Fagin, providing a wonderfully Dickensian performance that totally concealed the actor within in David Lean's "Oliver Twist" (1948). His most dramatic display of versatility came playing eight roles, including a woman, in "Kind Hearts and Coronets" (1949), a film that established him beyond a shadow of a doubt as an expert at make-up and deception. Whether he was an English prime minister (Disraeli in "The Mudlark" 1950), an Arab prince ("Lawrence of Arabia" 1962), a despicable despot (Hitler in "The Last Ten Days" 1973) or an Indian professor ("A Passage to India" 1984), Guinness demonstrated a chameleon-like ability to disappear so completely within the role that filmgoers forgot they were watching an actor and saw the character instead.

Relationships

Agnes Guinness

Mother

Andrew Guinness

Father

Matthew Guinness

Son
born in 1940 mother, Merula Salaman

Merula Salaman

Wife
born on October 16, 1914 met Guinness in 1935 married on June 20, 1938 died on October 18, 2000

EDUCATION

studied with Martita Hunt in 1934

Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art

1934

educated in private schools at Southbourne and Eastbourne

Milestones

1997

Published second memoir, "My Name Escapes Me"

1993

Co-starred with Leo McKern, Jeanne Moreau and Lauren Bacall in the BBC production "A Foriegn Field" (aired in USA on PBS in 1994)

1991

Appeared as the chief clerk in Steven Soderbergh's fantasy thriller "Kafka"

1985

Received Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor for role of William Dorrit in "Little Dorrit"

1985

Published first volume of memoirs, "Blessings in Disguise"

1984

Final collaboration with Lean, played an Indian professor in the screen adaptation of E M Forester's "A Passage to India"

1982

Reprised Smiley in "Smiley's People"

1979

Created role of John LeCarre's George Smiley in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" on BBC (aired in USA on PBS' "Great Performances" in 1980)

1977

Played Obi-Wan Kenobi in "Star Wars"; received Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor; also given 2-1/4 percent of the profits by director George Lucas

1973

Cast as Hitler in Ennio de Concini's "The Last Ten Days"

1972

Appeared as Pope in Franco Zeffirelli's "Brother Sun, Sister Moon"

1969

Portrayed Charles I in Ken Hughes' "Comwell"

1965

Reteamed with Lean as Zhivago's brother in "Dr. Zhivago"

1964

Played Marcus Aurelius in Anthony Mann's "The Fall of the Roman Empire"

1962

Reunited with Lean for "Lawrence of Arabia"

1959

Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

1959

Scripted adaptation of Joyce Carey's "The Horse's Mouth"; also delivered a superb, monstrous rendering of lead character Gully Jimson; received Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay

1957

Won Best Actor Oscar for his thoughtful rendering of an English bureaucrat soldier in Lean's "The Bridge on the River Kwai"

1953

Starred as the captain with two wives in different ports in "Captain's Paradise"

1951

Portrayed the inventor in Alexander Mackendrick's "The Man in the White Suit"

1951

Nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for Charles Crichton's "The Lavender Hill Mob"

1949

Played eight parts, including a woman, in Robert Hammer's "Kind Hearts and Coronets"

1948

Drew attention as Fagin in Lean's "Oliver Twist"

1946

Returned to films in David Lean's "Great Expectations"; began acting steadily in features

1941

Given leave for New York stage debut on Broadway in "Flare Path", a propaganda play

1940

Served in Royal Navy during WWII; Enlisted as able seaman; commissioned as lieutenant the following year

1939

Played Herbert Pocket in stage production of "Great Expectations" which he also adapted

1934

Stage acting debut as walk-on

1934

Film acting debut in "Evensong"

Bonus Trivia

.

Guinness received an honorary doctorate (DFA) from Boston College in 1962.

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He received an honorary doctorate (DLitt) from Oxford University in 1978.

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