Focus Point – Alec Guinness

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. When Alec Guinness died last week, all the commentators noted of course that, to a younger generation of fans, he was known for his role in Star Wars.

But to another generation, he was one of the last of a great era of English actors. And while his Star Wars turn added grown-up heft to a comic book fantasy, he should be remembered for more. Not least was one of the finest screen performances ever, as the unbending Col. Nicholson in "Bridge on the River Kwai." Or for a charming series of comedies made in England after World War II, such as "The Lavender Hill Mob" or "Kind Hears and Coronets," in which he played ten parts. Or for his indelible role in tunes of glory.

Finally, he made John le Carre's creation, George Smiley, so completely his own, it became impossible to imagine anyone else as the ageing British spy. He was also a wonderful reader, as his recording of T.S. Eliot proves. Guinness could do it all.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, choice as civil rights.