- "When I was casting the part of Obi-Wan Kenobi for Star Wars, I was looking for an actor who brought a certain authority to the role. Someone who was powerful yet gentle and that came across in Alec as a person and as an actor."
- ―George Lucas on Alec Guinness
During World War II, he served in the Royal Navy and became a commissioned officer in 1942. During his service, he thought of becoming an Anglican Priest but returned to acting after performing in Flare Path by Terence Rattigan during the war. He came home to England in 1946.
Besides his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Guinness won acclaim for many roles on live theater, television, and film, including his Academy Award-winning role as Lt. Col. Nicholson in The Bridge on the River Kwai. He was honored with a knighthood in 1959, and an Academy Honorary Award in 1980. To date, he is the only Star Wars actor to get an Academy Award nomination for a role in any of the Star Wars movies.
In 1973, he had a role as Adolf Hitler in Hitler: The Last Ten Days, which also starred Star Wars actors Julian Glover and Kenneth Colley, and he had a prominent role in Lawrence of Arabia as Prince Feisal. Other memorable films in which he performed include Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and Doctor Zhivago.