Saturday, April 03, 2010

Number four

The smiling fellow above was going to be yesterday's fourth hero of the day, but I got lazy, and I also planned ahead. I took a gander at today, and it was bleak on the hero front so I saved our boy above for today. It may be a day, but the guy above is far from a dollar short. His name is Alec Guinness de Cuffe, and he was born April 2nd, 1914 in London, England. His mother was the de Cuffe of his name, the Guinness part was a bit trickier, and the identity of his father has never been determined. He made his acting debut in the Albery Theatre at the tender age of 22, and during this time worked with many actors and actresses. One of his favourites was Stan Laurel, whom Guinness much admired. After military service, he returned to the stage, and eventually won a Tony Award. However, it is as a screen actor that I remember him, and as a screen actor he gets to the hero podium. He played the British colonel who built the "Bridge on the River Kwai" for which he won Academy Award. Then going to play large roles in "Lawrence of Arabia," and "Doctor Zhivago." All of which are lovely films, and he plays wonderful roles in them, and plays them well. I highly recommend all three, but I would spread them out over about a week. They are not short, light films, and beer is needed to work through them. He also played a fairly important role in a little film called "Star Wars." He was smart enough to puzzle out that the film would be a commercial success, and he got his salary to be 2 percent of the gross. Needless to say, that little trick earned him a TON of money, and he became financially secure for the rest of his life. Despite this brilliant deal for the cash, he was never happy being identified as Obi-Wan, and it was his idea to kill off the character. He did not mind the money the film produced making him rich, but he did not want to be "that guy who played Obi-Wan." Fair enough, I have seen Stars Wars, ONCE, and I prefer his earlier work much more. So, for those roles that are the standard of the "stiff upper lip" type of Englishman, Sir Alec Guinness (April 2nd 1914-August 5th, 2000 at the age of 86 from liver cancer), you are my (22nd) hero of the day.

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