Sean Connery, the handsome Scottish actor who rose to international stardom in the 1960s after introducing himself to movie audiences as “Bond.” James Bond,” and who later won an Academy Award playing a Prohibition-era Irish-American cop in The Untouchables, has died. She was 90 years old.
Connery died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas, his family confirmed to the BBC.
Connery, a prominent screen presence throughout his long career, came to define British novelist Ian Fleming’s handsome and deadly secret agent, who preferred his vodka martinis to be shaken, not stirred.
Other actors have played Bond in movies—David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig—but for many moviegoers, there was only one 007.
A tuxedo-clad Connery introduced himself as Bond to a beautiful young woman—and to the audience—as he played the chemin de fer role in Dr. No, the 1962 action thriller that launched one of the most successful film franchises of all time. time.
Connery played Bond in six more films: From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), thunder ball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), D.Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and, after vowing to leave Bond, Never Say Never Again (1983).
“For most people, the first Bond was the best, and it’s not that the others weren’t great, but Sean Connery put a stamp on it,” film academic and author Jeanine Basinger, who directed the show, told the Times. in film studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
Noting the “sly, cheeky humor” that Connery injected into the role, Basinger said that “so many great male stars, as long as they can bring that element of humor to their persona, it kind of gives them a longevity.” They take the role beyond the hero, the action figure, and make it human.”
Other actors who played Bond had the humor, Basinger said, but Connery’s Bond also had “the cruel edge, the real kind of danger that was associated with the books.”
Connery recognized that crucial ingredient, telling the Chicago Sun-Times in 1996: “The person who plays Bond has to be dangerous. If there’s no sense of threat, you can’t be great.”
The phenomenal success of the Bond films inspired other spy films such as James Coburn’s Flint and the Matt Helm films starring Dean Martin, as well as a number of television series, including The Man From UNCLE, The Girl From UNCLE, Get Smart, Mission: Impossible Y I Spy.
More than three decades later, Connery was the inspiration for Austin Powers, the outrageously funny British secret agent created and played by comedian Mike Myers in a series of spy movies.
When Connery received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2006, Canadian Myers, wearing a kilt in honor of Connery, told the actor that he was “my father’s hero because you’re a man’s man.”
Indeed, and therein lies Connery’s enduring appeal to moviegoers of both sexes.
As film critic Pauline Kael told the magazine People in 1989: “Connery seems absolutely sure of himself as a man. Women want to meet him and men want to be him.”
In 1989, the same year Connery appeared as Harrison Ford’s white-bearded father on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, People magazine proclaimed the then 59-year-old actor as the sexiest man in the world.
Director Steven Spielberg once told GQ magazine earlier that year: “There are only seven genuine movie stars in the world today, and Sean is one of them.”
Although the Bond movies brought him unexpected fame and fortune, Connery resisted being known only as 007.
Even during the heyday of Bondmania in the 1960s, he starred in films like the psychological thriller Marnie from Alfred Hitchcock, Sidney Lumet’s World War II drama set in a British military prison The Hill and Irvin Kershner’s offbeat comedy A Fine Madness.
“I’m not James Bond,” a frustrated Connery told reporters before flying to Japan to shoot his fifth Bond epic, You Only Live Twice (1967), which he announced would be his last time playing 007. But Connery returned to the role two years later in Diamonds are forever.
Among the incentives: a then-princely $1.25 million and a percentage of the film’s gross profits. Reportedly, she donated her entire salary for the film to the Scottish International Education Trust, a foundation she co-founded in 1970 to provide scholarships to underprivileged young Scots.
However, Connery reportedly turned down $5 million to star in the next Bond film, live and let die, in which Roger Moore took over the role of Bond.
During the 1970s, he helped kick his Bond image up a notch in a number of films, most notably The Wind and the Lion, The Man Who Would Be King Y Robin and Marian.
In 1988, Connery took home the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role as aging Irish policeman Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables.
For the next twelve years, he continued to work frequently in films, including The Hunt for Red October, The Russia House, Medicine Man, Just Cause, The Rock, Playing by Heart, Entrapment Y Finding Forrester.
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He was also an executive producer or producer on more than half a dozen films, from Medicine Man (1992) until The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).
In his later years, Connery received numerous accolades, including a Kennedy Center Honor in 1999.
His support for the Scottish National Party, which campaigns for Scottish independence, was seen by some as greatly delaying his knighthood, which eventually came in 2000, making him Sir Sean Connery.
Connery reportedly decided to retire from acting in 2005, though he was the titular voice for the 2006 animated comedy short. Sir Billi the Vet. Reportedly turned down portraying Gandalf in the series The Lord of the Rings.
The eldest of two children, Connery was born Thomas Connery in Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 25, 1930. He grew up in a cold-water flat in a poor, mainly industrial part of the city, where his father was a factory worker and truck driver. long-distance trucking, and her mother worked as a domestic worker.
To help his family financially when he was 9 years old, Connery got a job delivering milk in a wheelbarrow before school and working a few extra hours after school as a butcher’s assistant. At 13, he dropped out of school and went to work full time as a milkman driving a horse-drawn cart.
At age 16, he signed up for active duty in the Royal Navy. Returning to Edinburgh, Connery, 19, began working a variety of jobs, including delivering coal and working in a steel strapping factory, as well as polishing furniture and coffins, as a cement mixer, trench digger and lifeguard.
In his spare time, he lifted weights and earned extra money by posing as a model at an art school. At the urging of a fellow weightlifter, she entered the Mr. Universe contest in London in 1953.
Connery placed third in the tall men’s division, but his stay in London had a life-changing result: Hearing that auditions were being held for a touring production of the hit musical South Pacific, he auditioned for the play—and was hired—as a member of the choir.
During the tour, Connery worked his way up to the small role of Lt. Buzz Adams and adopted the stage name Sean Connery.
Small stage and television roles followed, as well as small roles in the 1957 movies. No Road Back, Hell Drivers Y TimeLock.
Television offered Connery his first big break: He landed the role of failed boxer Mountain McClintock in a live 1957 BBC production of Requiem for a Heavyweight by Rod Serling, after Jack Palance had to back out of making a movie.
The day after Connery gave what one critic called “a killer performance,” he was inundated with offers, including one from 20th Century Fox, which signed him to a seven-year contract.
While on loan at Paramount, he played a hapless BBC radio reporter opposite Lana Turner’s American newspaper columnist in Another Time, Another Place, a 1958 World War II romantic drama shot in England. And on loan to Disney, he made his first trip to Hollywood to co-star in the 1959 family film Darby O’Gill and the Little People.
But his association with Fox did not contribute much to his career. Before being released from the contract, Connery appeared in several films on loan, including Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.
He also had a small role in the great Fox World War II movie The Longest Day. But by the time it was released in US theaters, Connery had been hired to play Bond and dr no premiered in London.
A self-styled Hollywood outsider who had homes in Marbella, Spain, and Nassau, Bahamas, among others, Connery valued his privacy and avoided personal bodyguards and publicists.
He also had a long history of suing movie studios over money, including joining his co-star in The Man Who Would Be King, Michael Caine, to successfully take legal action against the distributor for not receiving his full share of the film’s profits.
Over the years, Connery was dogged by accusations that he was a chauvinist, in part due to a controversial statement he made in an interview on Playboy in 1965 when he was asked how he felt about mistreating a woman, as Bond sometimes had to do.
“I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with hitting a woman, although I don’t recommend doing it the same way you would hit a man,” he said. “An open-handed slap is justified: if all other alternatives fail and there have been plenty of warnings.”
The slapping quote resurfaced from time to time, including during an 1980s TV interview with Barbara Walters, who asked if Connery thought slapping a woman was “good.”
“I don’t think it’s good,” he replied, “but I don’t think it’s bad.” It totally depends on the circumstances…
When I asked him if he had ever slapped his wife, Micheline, he said, “She doesn’t provoke it.”
Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento, with whom he had a son, actor Jason Connery, from 1962 to 1973. He married his second wife, artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met during a golf tournament in Morocco, in 1975.
McLellan is a former Times writer.
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Sean Connery has died, the Scottish actor played James Bond – over and over again
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