Sir Alec Guinness (1914-2000)

Schwartz’s flat, Eaton Square, London
10 May 1978

Guinness was among the last surviving members of a great generation of British actors, which included Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. He was celebrated for many roles in theater, television, and film, including his Academy Award-winning role as Lt. Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). He famously portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars in 1977. Guinness received a knighthood in 1959, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1980.

‘Taking his picture’, Schwartz recollected, ‘reminded me of the time I took John Gielgud in that very seldom would he look directly at you and he’d look away from you as he talked to you. In the case of Gielgud when I commented on it he mentioned that this was because he is shy…I got the impression that Sir Alec was very similar.’

Photo © National Portrait Gallery, London

Photo © National Portrait Gallery, London