Today in Biographical Photo Captions


“From his youth when he contemplated suicide, Alec suffered from bouts of depression that were exacerbated by his success. In 1956, his search for a religious or philosophical system that would counteract them ended with his conversion to the Roman Catholic Church.”
Alec Guinness by Piers Paul Read


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    And then continued with the same trajectory, eventually playing the wise old man with enough financial cunning to leave a fortune to his hers, which must have included a number of Catholic charities. It’s a great story.

    • Matthew Lickona says

      “‘Irritated by George Lucas saying he hadn’t made up his mind whether to kill off my part or not,’ Alec wrote in his Small Diary on 12 April [1976]. ‘A bit late for such decisions. And Harrison Ford referring to me as Mother Superior didn’t help.'”

      He turned down their initial offer; they came back with $150,000 plus two percent of the producer’s profit. When the film came out to good reviews, Lucas actually offered Guinness an additional quarter percent. A remarkable gesture.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    I have also continued a trajectory seemingly set in motion long before my conversion, albeit one of abysmal failure. No fortune and, thank God, no heirs to leave nothing to.

  3. Quin Finnegan says

    I am the REK in Korrektiv.

  4. Quin Finnegan says

    I certainly like Guinness. And I like Lucas a little more after reading that story.

  5. Quin Finnegan says

    To really bring this around, I should add that Piers Paul Read’s “Alive” has a place in my own conversion story (and if memory serves, in Mr Potter’s as well). I remember reading the story of the Andes survivors on a church retreat (at Pilgrim Firs, out on the Olympic peninsula) and being grounded to our cabin for taking one of the canoes out, without the necessary permission or even an orange safety vest (hence the current collection). The grounding was fine by me, affording as it did the opportunity to bury myself in the book about the plane crash, the avalanche, and the starvation conditions that led to the cannibalism by which they were able to survive. It’s an amazing story, and one of the things that really stuck with me was the guilt the survivors felt after eating the flesh of their close friends. After the survivors returned, they were consoled by a priest who insisted that their actions were not sinful, and moreover offered Christ’s gift of His real presence as a model for what had been required on the mountain. I was maybe ten or eleven years old at the time, but it had me thinking. Was there any difference between whatever the priest said and what the ministers were saying there at Pilgrim Firs? Maybe there was.

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