Arguably one of the most dashing and iconic Bonds of all time, the legendary Sean Connery has gone. He has departed the mortal world at the age of 90. A Scottish national by origin, Connery had the distinction of playing the role of Bond in over seven spy thrillers. His death was formally confirmed by the BBC. He breathed his last in the Bahamas while fast asleep. He had been reportedly keeping unwell for quite sometime now.
In Bond history, he was the first to portray the role of the British secret service agent. A role that took Connery to the pinnacle of stardom. A career spanning decades, the actor donned the role of Bond between 1962 and 1983. Playing the uber cool spy, he got numerous awards which included an Oscar, two Bafta awards and three Golden Globes.
Among the list of actors who played 007, Connery till date remains the best to have played the hi tech spy who was known for his flamboyance and style. The character was based on a fictional series that was based on a character created by Ian Fleming in his widely read novels. Connery enjoyed Knighthood when the Queen conferred the honour on him.
His catchline – My name is Bond – James Bond became an instant hit among the masses. At a personal level, he never took the role seriously, as he felt he was being typecast by that one role. But Connery was unhappy being defined by the role and once said he “hated that damned James Bond”.
Rising from very humble origins in the slums of Edinburgh, Connery donned multiple roles as a coffin polisher, milkman and lifeguard before he took life seriously and started building his hobby. These were the first moves as he moved towards acting as a career alternative. As time progressed he got christened as one of the world’s biggest stars.
Apart from his prolific stint as the prolific double agent, he also made a mark in films like Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie”, “The Wind and the Lion”, “The Man Who Would be King”, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and the Cold War tale “The Hunt for Red October”.
A verified Twitter handle for the James Bond franchise was first to tweet: “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – “The name’s Bond… James Bond” – he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent. He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”
His son Jason Connery told the international media, “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time. A sad day for all.”
Sean Connery won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1988 for his role as an Irish police officer in The Untouchables.
The last film of Sean Connery was the only Bond film not to be produced by Eon Productions. Connery boasted of a filmography of more than 60 films.
Had it not been for Connery who introduced the trademark catchline in “Dr. No” (1962) that turned him into an international superstar, no one would have ever got a headway into what the real Bond looked or felt like. He in many ways bucked the trend on how Bond was about an ace womanizer, a man suited for the occasion and one who would be a martini sipping spy originally created by Ian Fleming.
Among the multiple names who carried forward the Bond legacy were Pierce Brosnan, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig. While they made occasional headlines, none could reach the height Connery achieved. In a 2012 poll by NPR news Connery was the best Bond actor with 56% of the votes. Craig came second.
Back in the day it was the year 1989 when the People magazine honoured Connery with the title of the sexiest man alive. Later in 1997, the magazine found him “a man’s man of action who still leaves women as shaken as any of Bond’s martinis.”
His last featured role in a film was “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. For Connery as per the U.K. Daily Record in August 2010 “From Russia With Love” would always remain his favourite Bond movie. Both story and locales were intriguing, said Connery then. Born on Aug. 25, 1930, in the working-class Fountain bridge district of western Edinburgh, he was the elder of two boys.
He did several menial jobs as he left school early at the age of 14. At 16, he joined the Royal Navy for three years. When he was faced by a stomach ulcer, he had to return to civilian life in Edinburgh.
He also posed as a model for Edinburgh Art School at the age of 19. His third position at the Mr. Universe championship got him a break in films. He also skipped a chance to try his hand at soccer for Manchester United.
In his initial days, Connery spent time modelling, doing theatre and making an appearance in chorus. It was only in 1958 that he bagged a role in a film.
It was his hard toil that he got decorated with the knighthood in 2000. Connery was knighted by none other than Queen Elizabeth II. One of two tattoos he got after joining the Navy said “Scotland Forever.”
Connery married French-born artist Micheline Roquebrune in 1975. With his first wife, Diane Cilento, he had a son, Jason Connery.
As one of the finest and perhaps first Bond’s goes, it is hard to fathom the 007 mania like old times. Wishing Bond, a safe passage on to the other side.