July 28, 2005

"Fairy-tale rubbish but could be interesting perhaps."

That's what Alec Guinness thought of the "Star Wars" script -- quoted in this NYT review of a new biography of the actor.

Another tidbit: he turned down "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and said "Do you think my varicose veins would show through the fishnet stockings?"

Much more seriously:
As the letters and diaries make abundantly clear, Guinness, although he enjoyed the friendship of glamorous women, was attracted throughout his life to young men, whom he often hired as dressers or assistants.

Mr. Guinness fought his impulses, first by marrying the very appealing Merula Salaman, a promising actress who abandoned her career under pressure from her husband, and later by embracing the Roman Catholic Church. He lived a secretive, closeted life, tormented by illicit desires and guilt at what he called, in one diary entry, "the sordidness of much of my past." It was not only onstage that profound emotions stirred under a cool, unruffled surface. The theater, he once wrote, saved him from "a very bad suicidal tendency."
So sad!


Gabe said...

Profound. And something I didn't know. I suppose many of the great actors of yesteryear have suffered with such guilt, shame and pain but it's always humbling to see it put so plainly.

Scrutineer said...

This is what he thought of Star Wars after it was released.

amba said...

Why does this post only have 2 comments while the one on B-list movies has 30 or something? Emotional stuff strikes people dumb . . . This is an example of the terrible cruelty of society-wide homophobia.

It reminds me a little bit of Andrew Sullivan's piece on Abraham Lincoln likely being gay -- the same loneliness, though not the shame, shines through.

Michael said...

This reminds me of the hypothetical Judge Roberts-as-closested-gay idea. Here we have a purely non-hypothetical case of a man who constantly struggles with what he sees as a sin and tries his darndest to fight through it. As with the fake Roberts secnario, I find it very noble and courageous.

Robert Holmgren said...

Like Alec Guiness, there was a time when I too struggled with inner demons. I dearly wanted to rob and pilfer--it truely was my inner self. With the love a good woman I came to see this as an impediment to advancement within my chosen profession--banking. I've been quite successful, but at a cost. I'm not able to be fully authentic without grabbing something and making a beeline for a getaway car. I grieve for the memory of Mr. Guiness.

m.g. said...

I've thus far read 170 pages of this biography and have found virtually nothing that leads to the conclusion that Guinness was a tortured, closeted homosexual. Rather, there's lots of stuff like this:

I think on your face and hair and your lovely chin and neck and those beautiful straight shoulders and your voice, and your nose and your sweet hands and your lovely look and you and your tummy and your funny ladies kness and your silly feet and your sweet smell and your smoothness and warmth which makes my John Thomas want to stand up, down wanton, down, and even your funny little sweet little -- goodness where are their eyes. God, I love and want you. I feel near you darling.

p. 106, from a letter to his wife, Merula