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Sir Alec Guinness Dies 210

Gord writes: "The BBC is reporting (at least on the radio, can't see it on the Web site yet), that Sir Alec Guinness passed away Saturday night (9:50pm GMT) after been taken to hospital last Thursday. He will be most remembered by me as Obi-Wan in the original Star Wars movies, but he also acted in many other movies and he will be sorely missed." Update: 08/07 11:26 AM by E : Here's the story from BBC online.
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Sir Alec Guinness Dies

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  • By all means, []...and it's a good memoir, no matter where you get it. He tells the story of meeting a child who claimed to have seen Star Wars 100 times or something...I quote inaccurately, from memory, but it's in the memoir (entitled My Name Escapes Me, in case you want to find a copy):
    Guinness: "Can you make me a promise?"
    child: "YES!" (glad to help out Obi Wan)
    Guinness: "Can you promise me that you will never again watch that film?"

    The parent of the child apparently didn't appreciate this.
  • I'll remember him for playing Fagin in "Oliver Twist", an old black and white movie. I don't know what it was but it just remember him as having given a great performance. It was years later that I saw him again in "Star Wars".

    Thanks for putting your all into entertaining us.
  • He doesn't talk about Blade Runner much either...


  • I know there's a great temptation to throw down Star Wars references and jokes like "If you strike me down" yada yada, but please remember that Sir Alec Guinness sincerely regretted doing Star Wars.

    Before the trolls go completely ape-shit I hope there's some recognition that the man deserves better than to be mocked at death and tied to a role he wanted to forget.


  • I can understand "celebrating and memorializing his life", if you're a big fan of his work, but most of what I see here is a collection of "curlish comments".

    Most of the on-topic posts here can be summed up as one of:
    1) This is sad.
    2) Obi Wan was struck down, and has become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
    3) He hated Star Wars, stop calling him Obi Wan!
    4) He also acted in Bridge on the River Kwai.
    5) This isn't News for Nerds, Stuff That Matters.

    Just the kind of crap you'd expect from /. when there's nothing technical to discuss. Nobody is going to write a worthy memorial here, and nobody's going to put up any information you can't find with google in 3 minutes. Just gossip, bad jokes, and arguments over whether this should have been posted in the first place.

    He just has too little relevance to the general population of /. to be worth mentioning. 98% of slashdotters said "Who? Oh, Obi Wan." You think he would have wanted to be remembered that way?

    Besides, it's not as if we wouldn't have heard of this except on /. , it's all over the news. That's why this is "News for Nerds", it's supposed to be stuff you won't hear every 20 minutes on CNN.

    In summary: lousy discussion topic, news we heard anyway. What makes a worse /. story?

    Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
  • This is very sad indeed. I imagine many people will not remember Sir Alec simply as "Obi-Wan", although that will always come to mind for Star Wars fans, but rather for his roles in movies like The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, which were both directed by one of the finest film directors who ever lived, the late Sir David Lean (another knighted Englishman).

    Those who have seen Bridge on the River Kwai will know that the last two words are perhaps among the greatest film endings ever. (Those who haven't seen will just have to ponder why.)

    Madness ...


  • Somewhere (that I cant remember) in my past I read a plaque fixed to something (that I cant remember) that said (paraphrased)..

    "Tho I Pass this way only once,
    Let my deeds be such that I am remembered for all time."

    Sir Alec Guinness (whether he liked it or not) introduced me to a philosophy that the world can learn a lot from. He succeeded in leaving behind a legacy which gives him the closest thing we can currently call immortality.

    Vale Sir Alec. Good show old man..
    Now you have discovered the truth and have passed on to a greater stage, keep up the good work.
  • Nah, they'd put Patrick under "X" for his inspiring role in "X-Men".
  • What should it be under that would still make it relevant to Slashdot? Great actors die all the time, sadly, and they rarely make /. simply because they don't normally have much to do with news for nerds. I agree that Guiness did many incredible things and that his life should not only be put under the Star Wars category, but on /. I think it's perfectly appropriate.
  • Wrong in so many ways. There's more to acting than that. Much more. Arguing that sales ability is better than performance ability is like arguing that Bill is better than Linus. (At best an amusing diversion, at worst not so amusing) To say that Sir Alec hasn't done anything more entertaining than Star Wars is simply daft (Kind Hearts & Coronets), and to argue that he hasn't done anything more moving is equally vaccous (Bridge over the river Kwai). If you only watch movies for cheap, easy thrills, then you're missing so very much of life.
  • I suspect that most of the posts here will be remembering Sir Guiness for his role in Star Wars. To me, however, I will always remember him as the Colonel who almost neurotically refused to yield to the Japanese in Bridge on the River Kwai. As an aside, I saw that movie last year and I can't believe its over forty years old.
  • For those who haven't seen Kind Hearts and Coronets (, I highly recommend you rent it as part of your Alec Guiness tribute film festival.

    Besides being an absolutely hilarious black comedy that plays off serial murder with English manners, Sir Alec turns in an amazing performance in which he plays eight different characters.

    Rent it, you'll laugh.
  • Does it have to have a logo next to it to put it up as a news story??
    Yes. (Sort of.)

    Every /. story in placed in a category. That's just the way the system works. If your preferences are set to display the logos, you'll see them next to every story. (Otherwise you'll see a text label like "Star Wars Prequels.)

    It's the fact that Sir Guinness played Obi Wan that makes this "News for Nerds." That doesn't mean that we should regard him as only "the guy who played Obi Wan".

  • The BBC Linkage has a quick blurb that he "hated" being Obi-Wan. This is a real surprise to me, seeing as how it did it so brilliantly. Does anyone know the reason /WHY/ he disliked the role? I even believe the line "threw away all his fan mail unopened" is used. What on earth could make him so bitter? Watching E4 will never be the same again.
  • I have to agree with you. The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia are two outstanding movies; both were a great examination of the human psyche. The River Kwai was especially great because of the battle of will and discipline between Guinness and Hayakawa. We will build this bridge, but its "our" bridge. Hmmmm, what's that I see over there. What going on? If you saw the movie, then you know what I mean.

    Lawrence of Arabia was O'Toole's movie. The rest of the cast was very good, but O'Toole stole the show.

    The mini-series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is also definitely worth watching if you like spy and intrigue stories. Maybe my local PBS will rebroadcast this.

  • He took no salary for the role. He took a percentage....


  • When questioned of his whereabouts the night of August 5, Mr. Binks replied, "Meeza so smart enslik at Meeza doan tink no uns guna figars owt ut reely happin an Meeza runs scot frees egin! Tuh hek wif da bludy gluv Meeza gots, cuz yawlza cant pruv dat blud aints Meeza's!" Because no one can understand what the hell the alien moron is jabbering about, the authorities had no choice but to let him go.

    ...and Jar Jar kills yet another bit of my fond childhood memories
  • I consider this to be "News for Nerds," and definately "Stuff that matters". I agree, though, that there might be a special section for obituaries... But really, how often is one posted here? Once a month, maybe?

    I think that the passing of the actor who portrayed Obi-Wan something that I'd want to know about; that's why I read /. in the first place :-)

  • by Apotsy ( 84148 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:23PM (#874913)
    This is very sad indeed. I imagine many people will not remember Sir Alec simply as "Obi-Wan", although that will always come to mind for Star Wars fans, but rather for his roles in movies like The Bridge on the River Kwai [] and Lawrence of Arabia [], which were both directed by one of the finest film directors who ever lived, the late Sir David Lean [] (another knighted Englishman).

    If you haven't seen them, do yourself a favor and check those two movies out. Of course, Sir Alec was also a prominent stage actor as well, but you can't go back and look at those performances unless someone filmed or videotaped them. The movies will likely be his most lasting legacy.

  • /usr/games/fortune today:

    "What is a magician but a practising theorist?"
    -- Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Spooky. I don't remember that line though.

  • Yep (already posted it somewhere above...I've always loved that story)...A.G. used to tell the story himself (cantankerous pride) & he put it in his memoir, released in '97 or so here (and about a year earlier in England) which was called My Name Escapes Me

    I promise not to mention the "Genuine Class" anagram.
  • Not all Americans like StarWars, at least one doesn't :/
  • I believe that /. is, uh...

    "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters."

    It matters that Alec Guniess is dead. Sir Guniess was among the most prolific and talented (quantity AND quality) actors of the twentieth century. Not to mention that he was Obi Wan, something that /.ers seem to find very important.

  • Apparently the man got fed up with this. I cant think of it like he is neing ungrateful or something... I really cant explaing what the heck he was thinking when he said "I cant have any more SW" ... well, we sure will miss him....
  • I'm glad you mentioned those films. Tinker, Tailor in particular I rember as being just such a great movie. I have very fond memories sitting down with my parents and watching these films, discussing them trying to work out plots, names, who was the spy, etc. Needless to say, I never worked it out.

    Fond days indeed.
  • He thought it was rubbish (and I'm talking about the ones he was in, not Episode 1) and said such whenever asked about it.

    Did he also say why he did them, all 3, even though he disliked it so much?

  • Guinness actually did The Empire Strikes Back for free as a favour to George Lucas.

    As an aside, Bridge on the River Kwai is one of my favourite movies. I strongly suggest anyone who hasn't seen it to rent it At the earliest opportunity. Although Sir Alec won the Best Actor Academy Award ('57), which was likely a big contribution to the movie's success, Bridge also won another six Oscars that year and had a nomination for an eighth award (Sessue Hayakawa - Best Supporting Actor).

    In all, Bridge won: Best Actor, Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Colour Cinematography, Director, Editing, and Original Score, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, as well as numerous non-U.S. awards.

  • and is now more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

  • well you smuck. kenobi or not , he was a human being and his loss would have brought pain to his own folks . so like the next post very very correctly says " SHUT UP"
  • by Chas ( 5144 )

    I'm majorly bummed over this. But, you can find news on it:

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • Its a shame that he is known for only his act on SW since he had played in other movies including those posted by goldberg pants post.... He was indeed a very talented actor. We will sure miss you sir Alec, and may the force guide you wherever you are !
  • Especially the movie "The Harvest" where George Clooney is listed in the credits as "Lip Synching Transvestite". Just had to throw that in.

    --- Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time ---

  • WRT the +1 Bonus:

    I don't really care one way or the other about scores. Certainly, not about the difference between Score:1 and Score:2. And since I need to deliberately reduce the score, I don't usually bother. (Just for you, I'll do it this time :)

    Opinion: If they're going to implement the bonus at all then it ought to be elective. I should have to think enough of my own post to motivated to select the bonus. Not the other way around.


  • Now why didn't I think of that?

    --- Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time ---

  • I think that the death of the man who played one of the major characters of one of the first good geek flicks definitely counts as "News for nerds. Stuff that counts."

    People whine way too much about what is or is not appropriate for Slashdot. For heaven's sake, don't read it if you disagree with it.

  • I really just wanted to see if all your petty, offtopic, know-it-all posts deserved a default Score:2, or if you just slipped :)
  • So in the midst of all the bad (tasteless?) "force be with you" and "stronger than you can ever imagine" jokes, remember that Sir Alec Guiness was not just Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    The actor who played Obi-Wan Kenobi, reguardless of whether or not he liked his role, embodies a character that (IMHO) was the most noble, selfless character in the starwars series. We are sad at his passing, not only because of his 'higher works', but because of the character that he played in Star Wars. For most of us, the two are intertwined. If we are not to tie him with Obi-Wan Kenobi, then he is just another faceless actor to us.

    Like it or not, he will be remembered (fondly) as Ben Kenobi.

  • This is a link [].

  • by Anonymous Coward sid_869000/869059.stm
  • I thought I sensed a great disturbance in the force.
  • I run the risk of being tagged "flamebait", but those who think "Star Wars" is the only reason to mourn Sir Alec should run out immediately and rent Bridge

    THAT is a movie!

  • I watched it again a few months ago. It's hysterical, even after all these years. Guinness is superb. He could get more laffs out of moving his left eyebrow 1/4 inch, than Jim Carey can from turning his face inside out for five minutes. That's because Guinness was a superb actor with superb timing. (IMHO). The rest of the cast aren't bad, either.


  • There have been a lot of posts saying that Alec didn't like Star Wars, his talents were wasted in Star Wars, he doesn't want to be remembered as Obi-Wan, etc. Why then did he do Star Wars? I don't know anything about his career, was he not as good back then? Did he do it just to make some money? I'm curious.
  • That we probably pretty soon will be able to read Alec Guiness jokes at Dead Celebrities Jokes Graveyard [].

    [Disclaimer] Not for the easily offended. [/Disclaimer]


    "I'm surfin the dead zone
  • Does anyone that low still post? I've only ever seen a couple in the 3 digit range

    And I'm damned proud of mine!

    Hmm, perhaps I could sell it on ebay...
  • Yeah, and not only knighted, but a jedi knight as well. Lucky bastard.... I bet he'll get away with it too even if there are meddling kids involved. Clever...
  • He thought enough of the property to negotiate a percentage;
    the fact that he got it is probably the main reason he took the
    role. It is also a tacit admission on the part of the production
    as to how much they needed an actor of his stature to put across
    that dialogue.

    As for "dissing" it later, he assuredly never volunteered
    anything about it. Imagine an interview with 15 consecutive
    "Star Wars" questions, when you could be talking about
    acting in John Gielgud's "Hamlet". Aargh.
  • And im sure Mark Hamill gives thanks every day. Star Wars made him what he is today: Luke Skywalker :p
  • I think it is very pertinent.

  • Sound like anything you know?

    Sounds like the invention of open source...

    - Management figures out if they open source their project it will suck ass like netscape and will not make them money.

    - programmers figure out that no one will pay for them to code if someone will do it for free

    This has the potential to destroy civilization as we know it.

  • .. is available here [].
  • Apart from Obi-wan, he also played:
    • Hitler
    • Dr. Zhivago
    • Fagin
    • Julius Caesar
    • A Pope
    • Sigmund Freud
    • King Charles I
    • Marcus Aurelius
    • Spanky, the mechanical dancing horse
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does he have anything to do with Guiness beer??

    Yes. Alec, myself and Guiness breweries are inexplicably linked in that I have enjoyed said beer and have seen Alec Guiness in a few movies. I would even venture to say that I have sampled the beer while watching a movie that Alec Guiness acted in. Further more, I would think it very probable that Alec has also sampled Guiness (the beer) given that it is known to be a quality stout. Surely, Alec has pondered the mundane coincidence that his name is the same as the beer. Let me also tell you that, despite the name (again, the same as the beer), Alec did not author the amusing almanac 'The Guiness Book of World Records'. Nevertheless, I am firm in my belief that Mr. Guiness has fanned the pages of that book as I have.

    I hope that answers your question.
  • Alec, may the force be with you always. You've helped to make all of our lives that much better.
  • The quote is from an Emily Matthews poem.
    Umm not thats not it. I seem to recall it is on a bronze plaque, on a building in North Terrace, In Adelaide, South Australia.
    Which is some 3000 Kilomtres away now :(
  • Did you say "sir" deliberately?
  • Kind of the same issue with Patrick Stewart. I never much payed attention when the show was on, but really, all the best stuff was the Picard-centric stuff, and it wasn't mainly better stories being written for the character, it was Stewart really outshining the other actors.
  • He was also brilliant as blind butler Jamesir Bensonmum in the comedic murder-mystery Murder By Death. It's not really a high quality movie, but dang, it's good for laughs. Excellent cast all around.
  • He thought enough of the property to negotiate a percentage
    Now, I'm not sure how you meant this, but I think he thought enough of the saleablility of the property, not neccessarily the quality. (since the two are not related, and usually diametrically opposed)
  • Personally, I think that it's a great loss for the world when someone with the acting skills of Sir Alec dies...

    Maybe they should take a couple of his cells and clone him... At least we could get a couple more SW movies out of him *8^)

    "Minds are like parachutes: most people use them only as a last resort."
    - Ben Ostrowsky
  • God speed sir, God speed.

    I have to put this part here to get past these lame lameness filters
  • Some have already mentioned some additional fine films of his. Here's a list of the most famous:

    Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957) .... Colonel Nicholson
    Our Man in Havana (1960) .... Jim Wormold
    Lawrence of Arabia (1962) .... Prince Feisal
    Fall of the Roman Empire, The (1964) .... Marcus Aurelius
    Doctor Zhivago (1965) .... Gen. Yevgraf Zhivago
    Murder by Death (1976) .... Jamesir Bensonmum
    "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (1980) (mini) TV Series .... George Smiley
    Passage to India, A (1984) .... Professor Godbole
    (thanks to )
  • Bridge on the River Kwai and Scrooge.

  • I know Alec would not like to here this, but most people would not give a rats ass nor know who he is unless he played Obi Wan.

    He played a number of very good roles and he played them very well. However, no one would have know who this guy is unless he was Obi Wan. Again, I know Alec would not like to here this, but he made alot of money as Obi Wan that let him play the art'sy roles. He sold out for one (or 3) role(s), then took the art'sy roles, and lived well.

    Art'sy crap only gets so much food on the table.

    Anyways, my other non-Obi Wan files I like are:
    The Bridge on the River Kwai [] (really good!)
    Hitler: The Last Ten Days []
    Raise the Titanic [] (This must be a sell out role)
    A Passage to India []

  • Charles!

    Yes, mumsy?

    Release the attack corgis!
  • Guinness did so much more than just Obi Wan. Please, let's remember him the way he deserves -- and would have wanted -- to be remembered.

    Rubbish. He was an actor, not a critic. I assume he gave the role of Obi Wan his best effort. And he did a damn fine job.

    I was a very young kid when Star Wars came out. There was a lot to love about the movie. Special effects, Darth Vader, Han Solo. That's to be expected. But even at that age I knew that Obi Wan made that movie work.

    I also liked Alec in Bride Over the River Kwai. Fine movie. But I'm not going to remember him as Colonel whatshisname.

    RIP Alec.

  • by american_bongo ( 219162 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @06:31PM (#874961) Homepage
    I heard he faked his death just so he could murder Mark Hamill without being found. He's a clever old fuck, isn't he?
  • In the CNN article it says... His 1977 role as Obi-Wan Kenobi introduced him to a new generation of filmgoers and made him financially secure. "I might never have been heard of again if it hadn't been for 'Star Wars'," he said. It sounds like he had at least some positive feelings for the genre.
  • I've always looked up to Alec Guiness, first as a kid obsessed with Star Wars and later as one appreciative of his great acting ability. For anyone who would like to become more acquainted with the man he was, not only did he write a volume of official memoirs, but also two volumes of daily diaries filled with charming anecdotes about his life, his past, film, and the theatre. They are My Name Escapes me [], and, published just last year, A Positively Final Appearance []. I've read the first, but haven't yet gotten to the second.

    In a sidenote, with Sir Alec we've lost the last of a generation of great thespians; first Olivier in '89, and Gielgud and Guiness this year. Where, I wonder, are the great actors to replace them?

    -Wombat []
    Content. What content?
  • After watching a BBC article on the guy, in which it was said he despised the Star Wars movies and their merchandising, I decide that, although he ended up a testy old prick, he was still the best Obi-Wan the world has ever seen. Oh, and his face seemed to change drastically over the years.
  • You have to remember that a good many people who were at the orignal release of Star Wars (back in '77) were kids who didn't even have the slightest idea who Alec Guinness was.

    Yes. It's sad in a way to be so pigeon-holed. But how many people outside of the Trek continuum have roles that are so fondly remembered, and so deeply imbedded into modern culture as Sir Alec's role of Obi Wan?

    Through his work, he's become, effectively immortal. So yes, he's become more powerful than even Obi Wan could possibly imagine. =)

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • Sir Alec's anti-Star Wars stance mirrors a similar situation with another knighted one: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle... From what I remember, Doyle did a lot of different stories, from different genres, but all people wanted was more of his Sherlock Holmes stories. He gets fed up with him being the only thing he's known for, and goes and kills the guy off in 'The Final Problem',only to bring him back due to popular demand. (Feel free to correct me on any of this, I'm guilty of only reading his Holmes stories, myself...:))

    But this sort of public display of arrogance and disdain-for-that-which-brings-you-fame-and-fortune aside, deaths at such a late age don't really bother me. To me, I see it as the cycle completing itself. He wasn't cut down in the prime of his life by a car accident, or brain tumor, for instance.
  • by edhall ( 10025 ) <> on Sunday August 06, 2000 @07:39PM (#874987) Homepage

    Well, I don't agree. Remembering someone's life upon occasion of their death is hardly "wallowing." If it seems that way to you then I have to wonder just how much meaning life has for you.

    When someone famous dies, it is an opportunity for us to reflect on our own accomplishments and mortality. From such reflection derives wisdom. If you don't know or care enough about Alec Guinness' life to reflect on where it touches you own, that's fine. Just show a bit of respect for those of us who do.

    Sir Alec earned his fame, and you might find it worthwhile someday to investigate how and why. Until then, leave those who wish to celebrate and memorialize his life and its connection to our own lives free to do so without your churlish comments.

  • by jd ( 1658 )
    Being rich is meaningless. When you're alive, it's just a number, whos only significance is that some other people think size matters. When you're dead, it has no significance at all.

    Being famous just means that lots of people pester you, 24/7, for autographs, interviews, photographs, etc. Sure, some people like it, but I can't imagine Alec Guiness did. His love was in acting. Being a one-man freak-show (which is all being famous is) just doesn't fit him at all.

    As for being the Immortal Overlord of the Universe, that's one hell of a responsibility. I'd rather stick to something I can manage. Besides, as Doctor Who pointed out, immortality is a curse, not a blessing. (5 Doctors.)

    Ok, so why should this death matter more than any other? First, that presumes that a person's life is unimportant. IMHO, ALL life is important. Second, it also assumes that being mentioned has a higher status than not. When you pick a representitive, it's not because they are "superior" to those who they represent, it's because it would be a bloody mess, otherwise. Alec Guiness, to me, is a representitive of a kind of quiet nobleness that can also do what it takes to get things done. Therefore, to me, he represents ALL such people who have lived, live now, or ever will live, who have such a trait. That doesn't make AG any more "special" than the rest, but to list the rest would detract from the specialness of ALL of them, through simply drowning out the REAL signal in all the noise.

  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:57PM (#875002)
    I, actually, am not saddened by his death. Many thousands of people die every day, and I'm not particularly moved by the passing of some guy who once participated in making a product I liked. Probably dozens of such people die every day. Unlike many of the people dying every day, this one had a good full life. What more can you ask for than to be rich and famous and live to a ripe old age? (well, I'm sure many of us would like to become the immortal overlord of all the universe, but probably only one of us will)

    There are a lot of good stories that get passed up, but this one goes up so we can wallow in the death of a stranger? Now that makes me sad.

    Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not a turnip.
  • It wasn't the script, which he rightly called "complete rubbish". It was that he was getting older, and parts are harder to come by later in age.

    He was never made wealthy by all the famous roles, like in Lawrence of Arabia and Zhivago. Playing Obi-Wan gave him a lot more remuneration than he was accustomed to, and a certain amount of financial independence.

    Anyway, he describes all this in detail in his wonderful autobiography, Blessings in Disguise.

    "When I'm singing a ballad and a pair of underwear lands on my head, I hate that. It really kills the mood."

  • by K8Fan ( 37875 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @09:37PM (#875015) Journal

    If you haven't seen it, seek out his classic "The Man In The White Suit". For those who have not seen it, Guinness plays a scientist who invents the ultimate textile - a thread that will never wear out. His bosses oppose his experimenting and the money he's wasting, but he's driven. Not to spoil the film, but he creates enough thread to weave a suit. It's bright white, as it is impervious to dye. It never gets dirty and has to be cut with a blow-torch.

    How does everyone react to this wonderful invention? They all hate him! Management figures out (eventually) that they'll sell everyone one suit of clothes and then they're out of business. Labor figures out that they'll make that one suit, and then they'll be out of a job. This wonderful invention has the potential to destroy civilization as we know it.

    Sound like anything you know?

  • I read something to the opposite effect. That he threatened to quit when Lucas decided to kill him off halfway through the first film. Guess that's why these things are called rumors.

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was best known as a sports writer before his Holmes stories became popular. The most curious aspect of the Holmes stories is their reflection of Doyle's interest in Eastern Philosophy.

    Ahh! Now that you mention it, I do seem to recall reading something about that... Whoops. :D

  • by KillerPenguin ( 132043 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:43PM (#875022) Homepage
    Sir Guinness has faded now
    To the world he made his final bow
    The world remembers what he was
    The great man who drew our applause
    The enigma that he held
    His great fire still not quelled
    His gifts forever we'll remember
    His life will burn a lasting ember
    Let us not forget this day
    For a great man has faded away

  • It seems only natural that he wouldn't have cared for the part, being a great actor used to working with other great actors (ie not Mark Hamill) and being an old man with assumably little interest in science fiction.

    The fact remains, however, that he was indeed a great actor and he made a conversation about the Clone Wars sound as believable and exciting as anything he and Omar Sharif discussed. For that, Star Wars fans remember him the way he a great actor who was a big part of what we know as a great film.


  • I don't think people reflect on their own accomplishments as much as they are saddened because one of their media stars is no longer and we cannot gossip, complain, worship, and live vicariously through them. I find it hard to believe that "My life has been wasted" will ever follow someone saying "Obi-Wan died dude."

    I don't think its possible to mourn someone you've never personally met, your really mourning characters or what you think Alec would be like.
  • by Joe Groff ( 11149 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:10PM (#875037) Homepage
    He has become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

    - Joe

  • > they all say that they were taught never to refuse work.

    The telenews just showed a clip of AG talking about how hard it is for an older guy to get a part, compared to a young guy.

    Also, FWIW, he supposedly signed on for a percentage rather than a fee, which surely paid off when SW became so popular.

  • > Perhaps you're just too young ... to remember

    I'm not sure that's all of it. We have a very shallow cultural memory. Remember last year when everyone was publishing the "100 Best {books, films, recordings, etc.}" of the 20th Century - most of them were heavily weighted toward more recent works (with some nice exceptions, though).

    Partly it's a matter of most of us being unfamiliar with what went on before we were born, and part of it is undoubtedly because of longer term drift in tastes and improvements in technology... but mostly, I think hype and commercialism have created a disposable culture, where new stuff is supposed to supercede the old rather than accumulate with it.

  • here []
  • is that despite how much better work Guiness did than Star Wars, and how much he hated it, (as many people have said) look what category the story is posted under: Star Wars Prequels!

    I agree. topic=movies would be a better fit. If Harrison Ford died tomorrow, would the headline say 'Han Solo actor dies.'? I doubt it.

  • Anyone wonder why, if he thought so little of Star Wars, he took the role? It was good enough for him to accept the pay, I'll bet. If the movie or character is tripe, make your artistic statement by turning it down. Actors who take a part and then later diss it earn diminished respect in my eyes.
  • OK this is the tops /. put Alec Guiness under the title of Star Wars. First of all he hated his part in Star Wars and anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Star Wars knows that. Secondly to encompass one of the greatest actors lives we ever knew under one symbol is bad; what if we classified Patrick Stewart under Star Trek; kind of sickening isn't it. Sorry I had to mouth of this is disgraceful and I am desperately waiting for my overdew Mobo.
  • This is a sad day... a genuinely good and talented man has passed away.

    For those of you who have reasonable attention spans... try the following 2 BBC miniseries if you can get your hands on them.

    "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."
    "Smiley's People".

    They are based on John Le Carre's books, and are somewhat Cerebral, but for those who like that sort of thing, they are the best in the genre. Alec guinness has done an amazing job playing George Smiley.

    Another film that moved me powerfully, was "The bridge on the river Kwai". Guinness is scarily good in that one as well.

  • Of course everyone remembers him for his great portrayal of the great Jedi, but had so many more movies than just those three. And he was fantastic in each and everyone one of them. My favorites were a string of british comedies with classics such as the Lavender Hill Mob, and The Man In the White Suit, amongst other great ones. They combined great acting with very dry wit, and very good writing. They are a joy to watch over and over again. Guinness was also considered one of the greatest actors in the world with his role in Bridge on the River Kwai.

    I love Star Wars, he was great as Obi-Wan, but he wasn't just great as Obi-Wan, he was great in just about everything I've ever seen him in.

    That being said it is a very sad day that the world should lose such a great actor since there aren't any left. If you want to see what acting is all about, you won't find out from watching a George Clooney or Nicholas Cage film, you will however get an idea of the art of acting by watching some of Alec Guinness's older work.
  • One of my favorite Guiness films was The Horse's Mouth [], a comedy about a down and out artist desperately trying to find a way to finance his work. It's Guiness at his crankiest, and the only film in which you'll get to here Sir Alec impersonating the Duchess of Blackpool. Worth renting, if you can find it.
  • Many of the US films are not available here in Germany because they're only published in the US region (esp. the older ones, where region coding makes /no sense at all/ -- why exactly do they have to fear that a film could be bought here when it hasn't run in Germany yet if the film is from 1952?).

    They're more expensive.

    Sometimes they are available, but you cannot switch off the bloody subtitles (for legal reasons, whatever that means). IMHO that's annoying.

    Sometimes they leave out the English audio track. In an American film. What the fuck?!

    So, I'm kinda pissed by the whole DVD thing. They try everything to scare away potential buyers. Unfortunately, they have one hell of a monopoly.
  • by g_mcbay ( 201099 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:14PM (#875066)
    I predict most of the messages in this forum will consist of tributes related to Star Wars, which is somewhat ironic because Alec was know to speak out strongly AGAINST Star Wars.

    He thought it was rubbish (and I'm talking about the ones he was in, not Episode 1) and said such whenever asked about it.

  • by cnj ( 87028 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @06:59PM (#875086) Homepage

    /. article [] mentioning interview [] wherein Sir Alec clearly shows his distaste for Star Wars.

    Oh yeah, Harrison Ford didn't like it either (though it made him who he is today.)

    Someone else can respond to the idea that he never would have been Indy had he not been Han.


  • I know nothing about the circumstances surrounding Guinness becoming part of Star Wars, but he was a renowned actor (from Dr. Zhivago, in the least :) ), but I have heard of other established actors becoming black-marked for turning down roles. Robert Stack (ala Unsolved Mysteries), for example, was apparently black marked for turning down a role.

    Disclaimer: I can't substantiate this, but I have no doubt in my mind that Hollywood is accustomed to heavy handing and scapegoating. I have no reason to believe that Guinness was heavy-handed into Star Wars, but it is a possibility that we must accept. In all likelyhood however, Guinness took the part because he was initially interested in it, and later discovered his animosity.

  • The IMDB is your friend [].
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @10:11PM (#875094)
    This is a semi offtopic rant, but I feel very appropriate.

    I felt like the best way to celebrate his life would be to rent many of the previous movies that Alec Guinness had been in that people here found so wonderful. It seemed his wish was not to be remembered as Obi Wan, so the least I could do is watch a number of his other movies.

    That's when I found out that almost NOTHING he has been in is out on DVD (Oliver Twist to be exact), with two more on the way.

    But, if you look at any site that sells UK DVD's, you'll see pretty much the whole set of Guinness movies - almost any movie he's ever done, including the Ladykillers (which I was particularilly interested in). Never have I seen such a clear example of how stupid the whole region encoding thing is.

    Now I have to buy a region free capable player, and replace the controlled one I own now. That is the least I can do as a tribute to Alec Guinness.
  • by Spire ( 101081 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:18PM (#875100)

    Sir Alec Guinness revealed in an interview [] last year that he hated the Star Wars movies (the dialogue, in particular), and actually wanted the character killed off.

    Guinness did so much more [] than just Obi Wan. Please, let's remember him the way he deserves -- and would have wanted -- to be remembered.

  • by Goldberg's Pants ( 139800 ) on Sunday August 06, 2000 @05:18PM (#875102) Journal
    While most people will only say "the guy who played Obi-Wan", it's fair to say his talent was a little wasted in Star Wars.
    For those who want to see "the guy who played Obi-Wan" at his best, check out the following movies if you can.
    The Ladykillers

    Kind Hearts and Coronets (where he plays 8 characters. Suck on that Murphy.)

    The Man in the White Suit
    All of these are classics British movies from the 50's (Well Kind Hearts was shortly before.) The Ladykillers in particular is, in my humble opinion, a classic.
    You will be missed Alec.


"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"