Who Was Sean Connery?
In the 1950s, Sean Connery was cast in numerous U.K. films and television programs. In the early '60s, he landed the lead role of James Bond in Dr. No, continuing the role in followups like Goldfinger and Thunderball while gaining massive popularity. He worked regularly in film thereafter, and in 1988 won an Academy Award in the category of supporting actor for The Untouchables. Connery later starred in the adventure films Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, before retiring from acting.
Connery was born Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930, in Fountainbridge, Scotland. The son of Joe, a truck driver, and Euphamia, a laundress, Connery had a modest upbringing in a neighborhood known as "the street of a thousand smells" for the stench of the local rubber mill and several breweries that filled the air. His home was a two-room flat where the infant slept in a bureau drawer because his parents couldn't afford a crib. "We were very poor," Connery has commented, "but I never knew how poor because that's how everyone was there." Joe brought home only a few shillings a week, and those were often spent on whiskey or gambling.
Known during his youth as "Tommy," Connery grew up on the streets along with the Fountainbridge youth, playing tag or soccer. The local gangs dubbed him "Big Tam" because of his size and his ability to pummel most of his playmates. He attended Tollcross elementary school and amazed his teachers with a lightning-quick mathematical aptitude. From the day he could read, he devoured every comic book he could get his hands on and dreamed up his own imaginative tales of Martians and madmen. Even then, he had a fascination with film: "I would play hooky and go to Blue Halls, the local movie house, to watch the pictures," he recalled.
When Connery was 8 years old, his parents had a second child: Neil. Young Tom delighted in the role of big brother and, as they grew up, the Connery boys were inseparable. They fished in nearby Union Canal (using their mother's stockings for line) and skipped school to fit in more amusing extracurricular activities—including running with "the wrong element."
Young Drifter and Bodybuilder
At the age of 13, Connery quit school to work full time at the local dairy. Three years later, he joined the Royal Navy. He received two tattoos on his arm, reading: "MUM AND DAD" and "SCOTLAND FOREVER." Unfortunately, the artwork lasted longer than his naval career. Though he signed up for a seven-year stint, he was released from service after three years due to stomach ulcers.
Back home, Connery took assorted jobs shoveling coal, laying bricks, polishing coffins and posing as a model at the Edinburgh Art School. For months, he skimped and saved shillings to become a member of the Dunedin Weightlifting Club. "It was not so much to be fit but to look good for the girls," he once admitted. The local ladies were impressed—but so were his fellow gym mates, who nominated him for the Mr. Universe contest.
In 1953, Connery traveled the nine hours to London, where the competitions were held. He boldly introduced himself to the contest judges as "Mr. Scotland," pointedly showcasing his 6' 2" frame. He was chosen third in the tall men's division and given a medal—but that wasn't all. A local casting director in attendance liked the hammy Scottish kid and asked him to join the chorus of a new production, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, playing on Drury Lane in London's theater district. "I didn't have a voice, couldn't dance," Connery admitted. "But I could look good standing there."
Start of Acting Career
One rehearsal was all it took: "I decided then and there to make acting my career." He chose the stage name Sean Connery because Sean, besides being his middle name, reminded him of his favorite movie hero, Shane, as played by Alan Ladd. "It seemed to go more with my image than Tom or Tommy," he recalled. "Sean Connery" was thus listed as a chorus member in the South Pacific program.
Over the next few years, Connery was cast in numerous films and television programs, including a much-acclaimed BBC staging of Requiem for a Heavyweight. But his lack of education worried him, and he thus began reading the classics, including Proust, Tolstoy and Joyce. The book-learning, however, did not soften his street instincts. While filming Another Time, Another Place (1958) with Lana Turner, Connery was involved in a brawl on the set with Turner's boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. (The Hollywood tabloids reported that Connery and Turner were having an affair.)
Big Break as James Bond
Connery liked the reputation of being a rugged ladies' man. But that changed in August 1957 when, while filming a TV show for Britain's ATV Playhouse, he met a beautiful blond Australian actress named Diane Cilento. She was married at the time, but Connery's attraction to her was undeniable.
At first Cilento felt nothing for her cast mate except friendship: "He seemed like a man with a tremendous chip on his shoulder," she remarked. In 1959, just as Connery's career was taking off, Cilento contracted tuberculosis, and the actor realized how devastated he would be if he lost her. He turned down a big break in the Charlton Heston film El Cid to be close to her while she recovered. The decision didn't hurt his career; in fact, Twentieth-Century Fox studios came calling with a contract, and Connery made several films in Hollywood.
When the contract was up, he had another stroke of luck. Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert "Cubby" Broccoli cast him as the lead in a spy movie based on one of a series of Ian Fleming novels. Bond—James Bond—was born. The 1962 film Dr. No showcased the spy contending with the arch-villain title character and his quest to control American launched rockets. Two sequels were released immediately: From Russia With Love (1963) and the international blockbuster Goldfinger (1964). Thunderball (1965) fared even better at the box office, and You Only Live Twice (1967) followed.
Sly, sexy and confident with questionable scruples, Connery as Bond was the embodiment of the British secret agent to many (even if he did have to wear a toupee to cover his prematurely balding head). "We all knew this guy had something," Saltzman would recall. "We signed him without a screen test. We all agreed, he was 007." Connery had a notable non-Bond role in Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller Marnie (1964), along with other projects like The Hill (1965), A Fine Madness (1966), Shalako (1968) and The Molly Maguires (1970). He declared his last role as Bond in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, with the part taken over by Roger Moore in 1973's Live and Let Die.
Personal Conflict and Controversy
His acting career now cemented, Connery decided it was time to settle his personal affairs as well. Diane was now divorced, and the pair wed secretly at the Rock of Gibraltar in November 1962 while Connery was filming From Russia With Love. They honeymooned briefly in Spain before the actor returned to the States for a flood of publicity. Connery thrived on the attention and adoration: "Now, I can kill any s.o.b. in the world and get away with it," he bragged to The Saturday Evening Post. "I eat and drink nothing but the very best, and I also get the loveliest ladies in the world."
But Connery had a tendency to go too far in interviews and openly advocated abusive behavior. For example, he told a London newspaper his opinion on hitting women: "An open-handed slap is justified. So is putting your hand over her mouth." He later told Playboy, "I don't think there's anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman ... if all other alternatives fail and there's plenty of warning."
The comments came back to haunt him when, in 1973, 10 years after his son Jason was born, he and Cilento divorced amidst a flurry of tabloid rumors that he was physically abusive. Connery denied them all, and married French-Moroccan artist Micheline Roquebrune in 1975—again at Gibraltar. The pair met in a golf tournament in Morocco, a sport that was a shared passion. He won the men's award; she took the women's.
Bored of Being 007
By this time, Connery had made a total of six Bond pictures, but the man who once reveled in notoriety now shrunk from the spotlight. He retreated from Hollywood, moving his wife and her three children from her first marriage into mansions in England and Marbella, Spain. It would be more than a decade before he reluctantly agreed to reprise his Bond role one last time, in 1983's Never Say Never Again. For this, he was paid a salary of several million dollars—a far cry from the reported $16,000 he earned for Dr. No.
Despite the money, Connery was bitter and criticized Broccoli and Saltzman for stifling his talent. "This Bond image is a problem in a way, and a bit of a bore," he said of his last performance. He donated a large portion of his earnings to the Scottish International Education Trust to help students from poor backgrounds like his own. But his critics wondered if he was motivated by generosity or politics: Connery fervently supports Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom, including backing the failed 2014 referendum to have the country leave Great Britain, and gave a great deal of his own money to the secessionist Scottish National Party. For more than two decades, he and Micheline lived in Marbella.
Prestigious Projects and Oscar Win
After Bond, Connery continued to work regularly—Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Robin and Marian (1976), with Audrey Hepburn, The Great Train Robbery (1979), Time Bandits (1981), Highlander (1986) and The Name of the Rose (1986), winning a British Film Academy award for the latter project, which was based on the book by Umberto Eco. Connery finally won an Academy Award (best supporting actor), for his role as a Chicago cop on the trail of Al Capone in 1987's The Untouchables, co-starring Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia and Robert De Niro.
Connery's career continued forward with no signs of slowing down. He played the father of the title character in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), opposite Harrison Ford, and, in 1990, played defecting Russian submarine captain Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October, a commercially successful outing that earned more than $200 million globally. Other films included Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), with Costner, Highlander II: The Quickening (1991), Medicine Man (1992), with Lorraine Bracco, The Rock (1996), his prison action-adventure with Nicolas Cage, First Knight (1995), Dragonheart (1996) and The Avengers (1998), with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman.
'Entrapment' and Knighthood
Connery then played a cat burglar in the love story/thriller Entrapment (1999), which he also produced. The project co-starred young actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, and controversy was generated by the 40-year age difference between the stars. In 2000, Connery had a starring role in the drama Finding Forrester, followed by 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a comic book adaptation in which he depicted fictional explorer Allan Quatermain.
Connery was called "the rogue with the brogue," and in 1989, at almost 60 years of age, he was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive." But while his professional work was applauded, his personal choices were often under fire. "I'm not shy about voicing what I believe to be true," he said in 1998, after being denied a British knighthood due to his active support for the Scottish National Party. (He would be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, for which he wore traditional Highland attire.) In 1999, Connery received a Kennedy Center Honor for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2006 received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2008 Connery released the book Being a Scot, a work which was billed as an exploration of the actor's native country and its ideologies more so than a traditional autobiography. Around this time, Connery revealed that he had fielded an offer to appear in that year's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, though he decided it wasn't worth following through with the minor role.
Connery publicly retired from acting, though he has lent his voice to the animated film Sir Billi (2012). In 2015, Connery's wife Micheline was charged with tax fraud in relation to the sale of the couple's large Marbella estate in 1998. The couple subsequently relocated to the Bahamas and has become involved in environmental protection efforts there.
Connery passed away in his sleep while in the Bahamas on October 31, 2020. According to the death certificate, he died from pneumonia, old age and atrial fibrillation.
- Name: Sean Connery
- Birth Year: 1930
- Birth date: August 25, 1930
- Birth City: Fountainbridge, Scotland
- Birth Country: United Kingdom
- Gender: Male
- Best Known For: Academy Award-winning Scottish actor Sean Connery was best known for playing 007 in the early 'James Bond' spy movies. He has also starred in films like 'Robin and Marian,' 'The Name of the Rose,' 'The Untouchables,' 'The Hunt for Red October' and 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.'
- Astrological Sign: Virgo
- Scot (Scotland)
- Interesting Facts
- A sailor in his younger years, Sean Connery has two tattoos on his arm; They read: "MUM AND DAD" and "SCOTLAND FOREVER."
- Death Year: 2020
- Death date: October 31, 2020
- Death Country: The Bahamas
We strive for accuracy and fairness.If you see something that doesn't look right,contact us!
- Article Title: Sean Connery Biography
- Author: Biography.com Editors
- Website Name: The Biography.com website
- Url: https://www.biography.com/actor/sean-connery
- Access Date:
- Publisher: A&E Television Networks
- Last Updated: April 7, 2021
- Original Published Date: April 3, 2014
- Everything I've done has had to be accomplished in my own cycle, my own time, on my own behalf, and with my own sweat. But if people hadn't liked what I was doing, I'd probably be delivering milk today—and I never forget that.
- I didn't have a voice, couldn't dance. But I could look good standing there.
Would Bond have survived? ›
He could have dodged a few missiles and been back in Blighty in time for supper. But no: James Bond is definitely dead. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga confirmed to Empire that the ending of No Time To Die was constructed to be as definite and conclusive as possible on that score.How long did Sean Connery have dementia? ›
But according to those closest to him, Connery had also been struggling with dementia for the two years leading up to his death.Is the Bond franchise over? ›
There is no release date currently set for the next James Bond movie. The last entry in the franchise, No Time To Die, was released on September 30, 2021. Sony Pictures Releasing, MGM Daniel Craig debuted as James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale.What did Kevin Costner say about Sean Connery? ›
He was the biggest star that I ever worked with and I will be forever grateful to be linked with him on film. Sean Connery was a man's man who had an amazing career.”Who is replacing James Bond? ›
“Bullet Train” star Aaron Taylor-Johnson seems to have emerged as a front-runner for the 007 role previously occupied by Daniel Craig, according to news reports.Will James Bond come back? ›
James Bond will “reset” for future films which will start the spy's story again from the beginning, Daniel Craig has said. The British star brought his time as 007 to an end in 2021 after almost 20 years of playing the part, and appeared to kill off the character at the close of his final film, No Time To Die.What are the signs and symptoms of end stage dementia? ›
- speech limited to single words or phrases that may not make sense.
- having a limited understanding of what is being said to them.
- needing help with most everyday activities.
- eating less and having difficulties swallowing.
- bowel and bladder incontinence.
Acutely aware that the press were keen to hype up the two productions as a huge 'Battle of the Bonds', Connery and Moore agreed between themselves not to play that game or let any rivalry become 'personal'. The two actors made it very clear in interviews that they remained good friends and respected each other's work.How much did Jason Connery inherit? ›
It is likely Jason inherited his father's fortune, which was a whopping $350million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.Who was Sean Connery best friend? ›
Michael Caine (who co-starred with Connery in The Man Who Would Be King in 1975) was among Connery's closest friends.
What did Harrison Ford think of Sean Connery? ›
Ford also championed Connery's role in helping set a brilliant environment on set, hailing the Oscar, who won a Best Supporting Actor award for The Untouchables, for his personality. Ford added: "It was just really great to work with an actor who doesn't give a s**t. I don't mean about the craft, but about his ego.What did Michael Caine say about Sean Connery? ›
Michael Caine starred alongside Sean Connery in the 1975 film The Man Who Would Be King. Michael Caine has paid tribute to Sean Connery following his death aged 90, calling him: "A great star, brilliant actor and a wonderful friend."Why is Bond ending? ›
Killing off Craig's Bond not only meant that the franchise would need to be rebooted, but it also shut the door on having him do any more movies in the role. And for Craig, that's another big reason why it had to happen, as he knew that would allow him to fully focus on the next chapter of his career.Will James Bond retire? ›
In 2021, British actor Daniel Craig would play the role of James Bond one final time in the epic conclusion to his story, 'No Time to Die. ' Watching Craig play the character for roughly 15 years, it was a bittersweet goodbye to watch the actor finally retire the character.Who is the new James Bond in 2022? ›
According to reports, Aaron Taylor-Johnson will be the next James Bond, after the previous 007, Daniel Craig shot his final movie for the franchise last year.Who is Favourite for James Bond? ›
Aaron Taylor-Johnson 2/1
English actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson has topped the list of bookies' favourites to portray Bond after reports emerged that he filmed a secret screen test in September.
The official search for Bond hasn't begun yet
According to Variety, the Bond producers haven't started the “official search” for the sixth Bond yet, following Daniel Craig's explosive departure from the series in No Time to Die.
No Time To Die was delayed due to the pandemic and premiered in 2021 where Bond ultimately dies for the love of his family. As he went in to film his fifth round as Bond he said, “This is it. I don't want to do any more. '”Does James Bond have a daughter? ›
Bond and Madeleine Swann bring us on an emotional rollercoaster. "You have all the time in the world," he says. "She does have your eyes," she responds, confirming that Mathilde is his daughter.Is James Bond immortal? ›
But Bond is immortal. He returns to save another day. When it finally reaches cinemas, No Time to Die will be the last hurrah for Craig, but gods do not die. Bond will live on.
Why does James Bond ask for shaken not stirred? ›
The author used the line "stirred not shaken" to add yet another facet to Bond's cool image. If a Martini is shaken, the alcohol becomes "bruised", which detracts from the desired flavour - something which agent 007 would of course immediately notice and be suitably repulsed by.Are all the bonds alive? ›
However, only eight actors belong to the fraternity of those who have played 007, and only four still live. Sadly, David Niven, Barry Nelson, Sean Connery, and Roger Moore are all dead.Why did Safin save Madeleine? ›
Motive 2 – Love? Faced with the easy kill of Madeleine Swann under the ice, something makes Safin decide to save her. His later monologues imply that something connected them from that point onward and in his chat with James he reveals that they're the same. That they both love Madeleine.What was Bond poisoned with? ›
This famous depiction of digoxin poisoning comes from the James Bond movie “Casino Royale”. This toxin is derived from an otherwise harmless looking plant with bell shaped flowers of varying colours such as purple, white, and yellow.How did Safin infect Bond? ›
Safin gets the drop on 007, shooting Bond several times and infecting him with nanobots coded to Madeleine's DNA -- meaning he can never touch her or Mathilde again without killing them.
10 Shaken, not stirred.
Every James Bond has, at one point or another, specified that he prefers his vodka martinis shaken, not stirred, and it stands as the character's most iconic line.
What does James Bond drink? James Bond famously drinks martinis, but there is more than one recipe which features in the films. You can make a martini with either gin or vodka as a base – or with both spirits. This is then mixed with vermouth, served in a chilled glass, and garnished with lemon peel or a green olive.Why does James Bond drink salt water? ›
In the Casino Royale scene, for example, Dramatis tracks 007 as he is poisoned by his archenemy during a poker game. Bond excuses himself, then swallows copious amounts of salt water to try to induce vomiting.Who played Bond the longest? ›
Actor Roger Moore is considered the longest-serving James Bond, appearing in seven films from 1973 to 1985: Live and Let Die (1973), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View to a Kill (1985).Who played Bond the most? ›
roger moore, roger moore james bond
Moore played the role more than any other actor, and thus his imprint on 007 is probably stronger than anyone else.