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Obi Wan - We hardly knew ye.
April 16, 2001 10:28 PM   Subscribe

Obi Wan - We hardly knew ye. Three new biographies concur on Sir Alec Guinness' well guarded homosexual past.
posted by tamim (28 comments total)

 
Found this Obi-Wan quote: "You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." -- Ben's spirit to Luke
posted by owillis at 10:53 PM on April 16, 2001


Yep, my measure of a person requires knowing their sexual preference. Yep.
posted by fleener at 11:06 PM on April 16, 2001


Ewan McGregor is looking like the BEST choice for Obi Wan more and more every day.

Anyone seen the Velvet Goldmine?
posted by dequinix at 12:18 AM on April 17, 2001


"Touch your tongue to mine..." - Thumb Wars
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:44 AM on April 17, 2001


Gay or not - Alec Guinness was a great Obi-wan and a great actor. If not knowing he was gay not make any difference while he was alive, why should it make any difference now?

And since when is there a real life sexual preference requirement to play anything on the screen or stage?
posted by tamim at 12:47 AM on April 17, 2001


and der... this is about as interesting as those shocking liberace revalations...
posted by johnboy at 1:32 AM on April 17, 2001


I'm mixed on the whole issue of 'outing' as an instrument of press. I'm all for choosing one's own place and time, or not, for this sort of thing; but isn't it hypocritical for an author or reporter to not disclose the details of someone's life based solely on the fact that that person might be (or have been) gay? Surely many straight people would like to keep their personal relationships personal but aren't granted that courtesy. So why should gays' or lesbians' lives be filtered by a different standard, wouldn't that simply perpetuate the ideology that there's something wrong with it?

As I said, I'm mixed on the issue, so don't crucify me just for putting it out there. And please, don’t think that I’m a proponent of the homo-witch hunts of the early 90s or anything (I think even Signorile has come to have some regrets over that). But, it just makes me wonder.
posted by Craig at 1:34 AM on April 17, 2001


Wait, a gay actor?!?
posted by Outlawyr at 3:46 AM on April 17, 2001


And all this time I thought he was a very talented actor! Guess I will have to re-think my attitude toward him. Sneaky bastard.
posted by Postroad at 4:19 AM on April 17, 2001


I really hate to be a bitch about this but it really bothers me so I had to...

preference
a. The selecting of someone or something over another or others.
b. The right or chance to so choose.
c. Someone or something so chosen. See Synonyms at choice.

When I was six I wasn't given my options. Were you?
posted by brian at 4:49 AM on April 17, 2001


i find the whole story very hard to swallow

(just like that incident back in'46)
posted by insular at 4:50 AM on April 17, 2001


You know, Alec's ghost would so smack all of you upside the head right now, he didn't at all like his star wars fame, infact he complained that the fans were idiots and his great acting was unheard of to them. Like this thread, you mentioned him merely as an extra in Starwars, but not as a brilliant actor. Shame on you.

Be he gay or not, and why does it matter? Especially if it's after his death?
posted by tiaka at 5:44 AM on April 17, 2001


I second that emotion, though you can't really blame people for their ignorance...

Alec Guinness had a long career, dating back to the 40's. Rent THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB or even LAWRENCE OF ARABIA or DR. ZHIVAGO. He was more than just Obi Wan.
posted by crunchland at 5:50 AM on April 17, 2001


Is the fact that Sir Alec was homosexual really "big news"? I mean that quite seriously: I've known this for years and thought it was common knowledge...

<SEMI_RANT>And, as long as brian started it, saying Sir Alec was "gay" is at least misleading and arguably false. To say that Sir Alec was homosexual is one thing; saying he considered himself a member of a highly visible political and social movement is quite another, and apparently it's something he didn't want said of him.</SEMI_RANT>
posted by m.polo at 6:07 AM on April 17, 2001


I would imagine The Force would sure come in handy when it came time to redecorate the apartment.
posted by bondcliff at 6:39 AM on April 17, 2001


Brian, re: preference. Don't belittle the word. Yes, sexual preference is likely genetically wired in people. But sexual preference is not some all powerful barrier that can never be breached by choice. Activists don't want to admit that fact because they think it gives credence to the religious-right groups who think people can be swayed into certain behavior. Well, hello! People can be swayed, or move willingly, into any sort of behavior. Is it a big issue as it pertains to gay/straight? No. But to deny preference cheapens the argument because the religious-right will always be able to produce straight people who once considered themselves gay.
posted by fleener at 7:16 AM on April 17, 2001


And how relevant is this to the great Alec? Answer: not at all.

I don't care if Guinness had a thing for barnyard animals. He was one of the greats.
posted by ed at 7:26 AM on April 17, 2001


Crunchland: how could you forget Bridge on the River Kwai?
posted by MattD at 7:43 AM on April 17, 2001


Or his quiet performance as Father Brown...
posted by ed at 8:06 AM on April 17, 2001


Or, to add yet another of his classic roles, Alec Guinness defined the character of George Smiley -- in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and in "Smiley's People" -- so perfectly that the books' author, John LeCarre, is said to have retired the character in part because he could no longer write about Smiley without thinking first of Guinness. Great stuff, see it if you can.
posted by dawson54 at 8:50 AM on April 17, 2001


C'mon, everybody knew he was gay. The British accent was the tip-off.
posted by dhartung at 12:29 PM on April 17, 2001


Oliver Twist.

And c'mon, m.polo's right: Guinness, like Gielgud, belonged to an era before the politicisation of homosexuality, in the sense that a blind eye was turned, in that very British way, as long as one didn't make a terrible fuss about it.

And neither should we.
posted by holgate at 12:32 PM on April 17, 2001


Now I know why he was constantly wearing that baggy robe when he was hanging around Luke...
posted by DiplomaticImmunity at 12:32 PM on April 17, 2001


I'm still amazed how many great actors and actresses died recently. Walter Matthau is another one I'll miss.
posted by john at 1:57 PM on April 17, 2001


I think the time where "gay" involved some sort of political stance rather than just being a synonym for "homosexual" is long past. Most of the people who make that distinction now are still in the closet and have issues.

Anyway, I thought Alec was pretty hot in "Bridge on the River Kwai."
posted by anapestic at 3:47 PM on April 17, 2001


Wait, a gay actor?!

Wait, a gay Englishman?
posted by jpoulos at 3:50 PM on April 17, 2001


I think the time where "gay" involved some sort of political stance rather than just being a synonym for "homosexual" is long past. Most of the people who make that distinction now are still in the closet and have issues.

Why the infuriating "and" there between "in the closet" and "have issues," as if doing the first automatically meant one had the second? Sir Alec lived a long, productive and well-honored life "in the closet" because that was what he chose to do. It's neither my business to question his decision nor it is yours to label him some kind of sexual malcontent because he didn't bother to conform to your politically correct version of what a homosexual man should behave like. I can just hear the very next sentence usually used in discussions that include "in the closet" and "have issues" in that condescending tone: "guilty of internalized homophobia." Bleccchh! Gays and their "labels"... I'll stick with homosexual if it means, like Sir Alec, I don't have associate with that kind of forced consensus crap. Those of us in younger generations should be grateful to those of generations previous whos thoughts and actions and examples allowed us the freedom to make choices like "in the closet" or "out to the world." Instead, you attempt to hold them up to standards you've created and find our elders lacking. How about a little respect?
posted by m.polo at 4:17 PM on April 17, 2001


I don't really care who he shared his light saber with.

[cough, cough] OK, I'll leave now.
posted by ChrisTN at 6:36 PM on April 17, 2001


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