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Alec Guinness personal diaries to be made public in 2014

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Sir Alec Guinness's personal diaries and letters are to be made available to the public in 2014.

The British Library has obtained the personal archive of the late Oscar-winning actor, known for his roles in Star Wars and the Ealing comedies.

Sir Alec Guinness

© PA Images / AP



The archive will include over 100 volumes of diaries and letters charting his long career as an actor from the late 1930s up to his death in 2000.

It also chronicles his experience at war and the death of Sir Laurence Olivier.

An extract from his diary on July 12, 1989, the day after Sir Laurence's death, reads: "His 'I defy you, stars' in Romeo was memorable. And so was his Poor naked wretches etc in Lear. But his famous howl in Oedipus I thought just tiresome.

"He knew every trick of the trade and used every one, including, when he made his first entrance the lights coming up a few points and going down again when he left.

"He was always very conscious of the audience - and his own powers over them. I'm not sure he was an artist but he was total actor - a giant among actors."

Sir Alec Guinness as writer Jocelyn Broome in 'The Gift of Friendship'

© Rex Features / ITV



Guinness's archive follows Olivier and fellow legendary actors Sir John Gielgud and Sir Ralph Richardson, whom are already part of the Library's collection of 20th century actors.

Cataloguing the collection will take place this year, and it is expected to be made available to the public in 2014.

Alec Guinness began his acting career in theatre, and later found worldwide fame through the Ealing comedies such as The Lavender Hill Mob, The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets.

He later starred in several high-profile films including The Bridge on the River Kwai, which won him an Oscar for 'Best Actor'.

Later in his career he took on the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars series, and played George Smiley in the TV series Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People.

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