Former James Bond actor Sean Connery dies aged 90: BBC
LONDON – Scottish film legend Sean Connery, who rose to international stardom as the suave, sexy and sophisticated British agent James Bond and continued to dominate the big screen for four decades, has died at the age of 90 , the BBC and Sky News reported on Saturday.
Connery was raised in near poverty in the slums of Edinburgh and worked as a coffin polisher, milkman and lifeguard before his hobby of bodybuilding helped him launch an acting career that made it so. one of the biggest stars in the world.
He will first be remembered as British Agent 007, the character created by novelist Ian Fleming and immortalized by Connery in films beginning with “Dr. No ”in 1962.
As Bond, his debonair ways and tongue-in-cheek humor for outwitting flamboyant villains and bickering with beautiful women belied a darker, more violent edge, and he crafted a depth of character that set the standard for those who have it. followed in the role.
He appeared in films with the signature “Bond – James Bond”. But Connery was unhappy to be defined by the role and once said he “hated that damn James Bond”.
Tall and handsome, with a hoarse voice to match an at times crisp personality, Connery played a series of notable roles in addition to Bond and won an Oscar for his portrayal of a tough Chicago cop in “The Untouchables” (1987 ).
He was 59 when People magazine named him “the sexiest man in the world” in 1989.
Connery was a strong supporter of Scottish independence and had the words “Scotland Forever” tattooed on his arm while serving in the Royal Navy. When he was knighted at the age of 69 by British Queen Elizabeth in 2000 at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, he wore a full Scottish robe, including his mother’s MacLeod clan green and black plaid kilt.
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Notable non-Bond films include “Marnie” (1964) by director Alfred Hitchcock, “The Wind and the Lion” (1975) with Candice Bergen, “The Man Who Would Be King” by director John Huston (1975) with Michael Caine, director of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” by Steven Spielberg (1989) and the Cold War tale “The Hunt for Red October” (1990).
Alternative cinema fans will always remember him as “Brutal Exterminator” Zed in John Boorman’s fantasy epic “Zardoz” (1974), where a heavily mustached Connery spent much of the film running in a skinny red loincloth, leather thigh high boots and a ponytail.
Connery retired from cinema after arguing with the director of his latest release, the unforgettable “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” in 2003.
“I’m sick of dealing with idiots,” he said.
The Bond franchise was still booming more than five decades after Connery launched it. Lavishly produced films, filled with high-tech gadgets and spectacular effects, have broken box office records and grossed hundreds of millions of dollars.
After the resounding success of “Dr. No, “other Bond films followed for Connery in quick succession:” From Russia with Love “(1963),” Goldfinger “(1964),” Thunderball “(1965) and” You Only Live Twice “(1967).
Connery then worried about being classified and decided to go their separate ways. Australian actor George Lazenby succeeded him as Bond in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969.
But without Connery he was missing what the public wanted and he was drawn in 1971 to “Diamonds Are Forever” with temptations that included a share of the profits, which he said would go to a Scottish educational trust. He insisted it would be his last time as Bond.
Twelve years later, at age 53, Connery was back in 007 in “Never Say Never Again” (1983), an independent production that angered his former mentor, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.
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In a 1983 interview, Connery summed up the ideal Bond movie as having “wonderful places, interesting vibe, great stories, interesting characters – like a crime story with espionage, exotic settings, and beautiful birds.”
Connery was a very different type of Fleming’s Bond character with his impeccable social background, preferring beer to Bond’s vodka martini cocktails which were “shaken and not stirred”.
But Connery’s influence has helped shape the character in the books as well as in the movies. He never attempted to disguise his Scottish accent, which led Fleming to give Bond’s Scottish heritage in the books that were published after Connery’s debut.
Born Thomas Connery on August 25, 1930, he was the eldest of two sons of a long-haul truck driver and a mother who worked as a housekeeper. He dropped out of school at age 13 and worked in various menial jobs. At age 16, two years after the end of World War II, Connery enlisted in the Royal Navy and served three years.
“I grew up without any notion of a career, let alone an actor,” he once said. “I certainly never traced it. It was really a fluke.
Connery played small roles with theatrical repertory companies before moving on to film and television.
It was his role in a 1959 Disney pixie film, “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” that helped land the role of Bond. Broccoli, a producer of the Bond films, asked his wife to watch Connery in the Disney movie while he looked for the right lead actor.
Dana Broccoli said her husband told her he wasn’t sure Connery had sex appeal.
“I saw that face and the way he was moving and talking and I said, ‘Cubby, he’s fabulous!’” She said. “He was just perfect, he had featured material there.”
Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962. Before divorcing 11 years later, they had a son, Jason, who became an actor. He married French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met while playing golf, in 1975.