Biography of Alec Guinness (1914-2000)

Film actor British, born in Marylebone (London) on April 2, 1914 and died in Midhurst (Sussex), on August 5, 2000.


He started in the field of advertising and soon began to take a few courses of dramatic art with the actress Marta Hunt, who discouraged him saying that she did not have the qualities of an actor. With twenty years, despite everything and demoralize, he made his debut in the theatre in the theatre company of John Gielgud, where was getting a "shoot" in tables, which predisposed him to make the leap to one of the most prestigious theatre companies in the United Kingdom and Europe in a short time. It was the Old Vic, an almost compulsory for any British actor school. His repertoire required to give the best of each one and provided, almost without realizing it, a literary culture of first row. At the Old Vic, Guinness ended up polishing as an actor

In the mid-1940s he began working in cinema, without leaving his theatrical activity. Although it had a sporadic intervention in 1934, his first film was broken chains (1946), directed by David Lean; beginning in this way a collaboration with the actor who would pay, time, excellent results both. His role as the character of Dickens, Herbert Pockett, caught the attention of critics to that actor who made their first weapons in the film. It endorsed the expectations raised with other paper inspired by Dickens, Fagin from Oliver Twist (1948), with David Lean again in the direction.

His personality showed great versatility from the beginning. He knew how to adapt easily to all kinds of interpretations, from the dramatic to the humorous, although many considered his true comedy territory. Although Guinness surplus showed his mastery of the genre, would belittle her figure saying that those were their best performances. Throughout a fruitful career, British actor showed his diverse talent, able to do from an ironic Butler a character of fiction, always quite naturally on more than one occasion.

After starring in eight sentences of death (1949), a fine dark comedy, directed by Robert Hamer, two years later he obtained a remarkable success with their participation in gold in bars (1951), Charles Crichton, in a performance that earned him the Oscar nomination.

We had to wait a few years for his work to be recognized internationally, thanks to the role offered by David Lean in the bridge on the River Kwai (1957), as the English Colonel prisoner falls with his unit in a Japanese camp during the second world war. Few times a better incarnation of the military shades was on the screen: from the ability of suffering to the exemplary dictating his men, passing through the relationship turning from confrontation with his behavior toward the almost understanding of Japanese Colonel. Despite the elapsed time and the long duration of the film, the performance of Alec Guinness, which won him the Oscar for best actor, remains one of the values of the film. A year later returned to be candidate for the Academy Award, this time as writer of a comedy - which also acted - titled a genius on the loose (1958), by Ronald Neame.

His prestige was consolidated during the 1960s, especially among professionals in the film, although it was not a popular actor in the broadest sense of the word, due to its discrete behavior, and that it took the film as a work to earn a living, not under other more frivolous or populist perspectives.

In 1962, David Lean offered him another brilliant performance in Lawrence of Arabia. Although the film received numerous awards, none were for Guinness, although he left to remember the masterful interpretation of King Faisal, which collaborates Colonel Lawrence in their war against the Turks, which showed that embody an Arab King was beyond a good makeup and a suitable costume. Two years later gave life to the Emperor Marco Aurelio in the fall of the Roman Empire (1964), Anthony Mann.

As he met years was spacing performances and engaging roles for their age. As well demonstrated with the interpretation of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas (1977) Star Wars saga, which was again nominated for the statuette from the Academy. Another of his memorable work was in passage to India (1983), where David Lean - another time - was an excellent visual reconstruction of the former British colony. In 1992 he shot Steven Soderberg's Kafka, a tape that was below its potential.

On his death, which took place on 5 August, at the age of 86, at a hospital in Midhurst (Sussex), had named "Sir" by Queen Isabel II of England for contribution to the development of British theatre.


1934: The song of the twilight. 1946: String rotas.1948: Oliver Twist.1949: eight sentences of death; A Run for Your Money.1950: the last holiday; The Muddark.1951: The man dressed in white; Gold in barras.1952: The Card.1953: the paradise of the captain; The Malta Story. 1954: The detective.1955: to Paris with love; The quintet of death; The prisionero.1956. The cisne.1957: the bridge on the River Kwai; Barnacle Bill.1958: A genius on the loose (and screenplay). 1959: our man in Havana; Where the termina.1960 circle: Whisky and gloria.1961: A Majority of One.1962: mutiny on the Defiant; Lawrence of Arabia.1964: the fall of the romano.1965 Empire: Doctor Zhivago; Desperate but less; Hotel Paradiso.1966: Conspiracy in berlin.1967: the comediantes.1970: Cromwell; Thank you very much, Mr. Scrooge. 1972: Brother Sun, sister luna.1973: Hitler, the last ten dias.1976: A corpse to the postres.1977: the galaxias.1980 war: bail out the Titanic; The little lord Fauntleroy; The Empire contraataca.1982: return of the Jedi; Lovesick.1983: Passage to the India.1988: A handful of dust; Little Dorrit.1992: Kafka.


PASSEK, Jean-Luc, et to the. Dictionary of cinema. (Librairie Larousse, 1986). Spanish version: URABAYEN CASCANTE, Miguel, et to the. (Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, S.A., 1991).

MITRY, Jean. Dictionary of film, (Paris: Librairie Larousse, 1963). Spanish version: SAHLE, Angel. (Madrid: Plaza y Janés Editores, 1991).

López, José Luis. Dictionary of actors. (Madrid: Ediciones JC, 1983).