Ian McKellen Recalls Alec Guinness As Self-Loathing Bisexual

Ian_McKellen (2)We do love Sir Ian, but we’re not sure why he chose a fancy dinner to air out Obi-Wan Kenobi’s dirty laundry.

Earlier this week, McKellen was being honored at a Pride gala dinner at the house of the Lord Mayor of London, and he let some personal details about his colleagues slip.

Apparently Star Wars legend Alec Guineess told him, that he “should not, as a leading actor, have anything to do with anything political, especially anything as dirty as homosexuality.”


Guinness was married to a lady, but endured rumors his whole life about being bisexual.

It’s not like McKellen was revealing anything new, of course. Three separate biographies detailed his same-sex encounters after his death. He was even arrested at one point, but gave the name “Herbert Pocket,” a character that he played in Great Expectations.

McKellen said he also faced criticism from the other side — from LGBT activists who wanted him to be more vocal about gay stuff, to the exclusion of all else. “I find the concept of heterosexuality far too interesting to ignore it,” he told very gay director Derek Jarman.

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  • Polaro

    Sir Ian rocks. Can do no wrong in my book.

  • hyhybt

    How many same-sex encounters could he have had after his death?

  • NoelG

    @hyhybt: The afterlife is very queer.

  • Pistolo

    Bisexual? Alec Guiness was a full-on gay and deeply homophobic. He didn’t “endure rumors” he was the inspiration behind them and banged a wife he resented because it was the only outlet he had. The marriage was miserable and so was Alec.

  • GeriHew

    @Pistolo: “full-on gay”? There doesn’t seem to be any real evidence that Alec Guinness was actively bisexual, let alone a “full-on gay” And 62 years is a bloody long time for two people to stay in a miserable marriage, especially as Guinness apparently spent most of the time when he wasn’t working at home, with his wife.

    It all seems to be just so much gossip and speculation to me about a man who was clearly a little odd and could be very rude and bitchy sometimes. This includes the unproven story (referred to in the above article) about Guinness being arrested and fined for a homosexual act in a public lavatory in Liverpool in 1946, and avoiding publicity by giving his name to the police and court as Herbert Pocket. He was a very great character actor, but I just don’t believe he could have got away with this. Under the National Registration Act of 1939 every man, woman and child had to carry an identity card at all times. This law wasn’t repealed until 21 February 1952. Are we really supposed to believe the police and court accepted that he was “Herbert Pocket” without him producing an ID card to that effect? Or that he had a fake ID card naming him as Herbert Pocket, a well-known character from a novel by Charles Dickens?

  • James Hart

    @GeriHew: Guinness was also a convert to Roman Catholicism, and from all accounts, took his religious faith very seriously. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t bisexual, but it may mean he never acted on it because of his strong religious convictions.

    • hyhybt

      @James Hart: Being bisexual doesn’t mean you have to have some special excuse not to cheat on your spouse.

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