Diaries of Sir Alec Guinness bought by the British Library


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The Independent Culture

Hundreds of letters and diaries belonging to Sir Alec Guinness will be made available to the public after they were bought by the British Library.

The archive, which stretches from the actor's death in 2000 back to the 1930s, includes more than 900 letters and around 100 volumes of diaries and will be accessible from next year.

It includes a diary entry written after the death of Laurence Olivier and an account of a premonition of death he had the day before his boat went down in a storm during the Second World War.

Sir Alec's career saw him find fame in the theatre before a string of memorable roles in Ealing comedies including The Lavender Hill Mob and Kind Hearts and Coronets.

He won a best actor Oscar in 1957 for his role as the commanding officer in The Bridge on the River Kwai and played the spy George Smiley in the television version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but he is best known for his role as Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars films.

The library, in central London, already holds archives from other acting greats including Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson.