Sir Alec Guinness was born A. Guinness de Cuffe in 1914 in London. He appeared on stage from 1934, the same year as he made his screen debut in a walk on part. He continued in the theatre until 1940 when he joined the Royal Navy, after the war he returned to the screen in Great Expectations as Herbert Pocket. His versatility as an actor and his ability to reinvent himself on screen soon gained him a wide following, from his starring role(s) in Kind Hearts and Coronets in 1948 until the late 1950s he was probably England's best known comedian. He won an Academy Award in 1957 for his role in The Bridge on the River Kwai, which was a dramatic characterisation.
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