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"I never disliked Bond, as some have thought. Creating a character like that does take a certain craft. I care about Bond, and what happens. It's simply natural to seek other roles."
― Sean Connery[src]

Sir Thomas Sean Connery, CBE Légion d'honneur, (25 August 1930 - 31 October 2020) was an Oscar winning Scottish actor who starred in many films and was best known as the original cinematic James Bond. He also played the Fake James Bond in From Russia with Love.

Connery was known for his trademark Scottish accent and his good looks, repeatedly mentioned as one of the most attractive men alive by magazines even after he was considerably older than more conventional sex symbols. Some considered him more handsome as an older man than when he was younger.

Personal life

Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland at the Royal Maternity Hospital and raised in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. This area has been massively redeveloped since his childhood, and was formerly a hub of the Scottish brewing industry. There is a plaque to him near the location of his former home.

His parents were a Christian mixed-denomination couple. His father, Joseph Connery, was of Irish-Catholic descent with roots in County Wexford, Ireland; his mother, Euphemia "Effie" McLean, was a Protestant. Neither he nor his brother, Neil Niren, were raised as Catholics. Connery claimed that he was known by his middle name of Sean, long before he became an actor, explaining that he had an Irish friend named Seamus (pronounced Sha-mus), and those who knew them decided to call him by his middle name, which started with an "S", whenever he was with Seamus, and it stuck. Ironically, in an early film role playing an Irishman in Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959), he is credited as "Tom Connery" rather than Sean. He was also known as "Tam" by some people in Edinburgh, a Scottish form of "Tom".

He joined the Royal Navy after leaving school and, after being discharged on medical grounds, went on to a succession of jobs, including truck driver, labourer, life model and lifeguard. He competed for Scotland in the Mr. Universe competition in 1950, which led to work on the stage, TV, and eventually film. As a weight lifter, his nickname was "Big Tam".

Connery long advocated Scottish independence, and supported the Scottish National Party (SNP), a political party campaigning for Scottish self-government, financially and through personal appearances. This support is illustrated by a comment from his official website:

"While it is generally accepted that his support of Scotland's independence and the Scottish National Party delayed his knighthood for many years, his commitment to Scotland has never wavered. Politics in the United Kingdom often has more intrigue than a James Bond plot. While Scotland is not yet independent, she does have a new parliament. Sir Sean campaigned hard for the yes vote during the Scottish Referendum that created the new Scottish Parliament. He believes firmly that the Scottish Parliament will grow in power and that Scotland will be independent within his lifetime." [1]

Connery used part of the fees from his work as James Bond to establish a charity to support deprived children in Edinburgh as well as Scottish Film production. These charitable works may have earned him a Knighthood earlier, but it was revealed in 1997 that the award had been declined by the UK Labour government due to his support for the SNP and Scottish independence.

Connery received the Légion d'honneur in 1991. He received Kennedy Center Honors from the United States in 1999, presented to him by President Bill Clinton. He received a Knighthood on July 5, 2000, wearing a hunting tartan kilt of the MacLean of Duart clan. Connery received the Orden de Manuel Amador Guerrero from Mireya Moscoso, former president of Panama on 11 March 2003, for his talent and versatility as an actor.

He became the second husband of Australian-born actress Diane Cilento from 1962 until 1973, with whom he had a son, Jason. Since 1975, he has been married to French-Moroccan artist Micheline Roquebrune Connery.

In September 2004, media reports indicated that Connery intended to retire after he pulled out of Josiah's Canon, which was to be released in 2005. However, in a December 2004 interview with The Scotsman newspaper from his home in the Bahamas, the then 74-year-old actor denied he was retiring and said he would like to make another movie, but that he was taking a break from acting in order to concentrate on writing his autobiography, but now the book will no longer be written. Just weeks before his 75th birthday, over the weekend of July 30/31 2005, it was widely reported in the broadcast media, and again in The Scotsman [2] which credited the source as an interview in an unspecified New Zealand newspaper, that he had decided to retire from film making following disillusionment with the "idiots now in Hollywood" and the turmoil making and box office failure of the 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

As a personality he has been accused of being an overbearing bully but has also been praised as a highly professional and polite actor, courteous and supportive of those around him. Connery made a big impression on actors such as Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner and Christopher Lambert, who considered him a great friend during filming.

Sean Connery died on October 31, 2020 in Nassau, The Bahamas in his sleep.

James Bond

Sean Connery as James Bond 007.

Connery was well known to audiences around the world for his role as James Bond. He first appeared as agent 007 in Dr. No (1962) and subsequently played Bond in several sequels.

Connery was discovered by Harry Saltzman after numerous names as possible contenders for Bond were thrown or ruled out, including Roger Moore, David Niven, Cary Grant, and many others. Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond pays tribute to Connery in his 1963 novel, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and the followup novel You Only Live Twice, by stating that 007's surname as well as his father, was Scottish. Ironically, Fleming reportedly did not like the casting of Connery on the initial grounds that the stocky, 6'2" Scotsman was too "unrefined", but with some tutelage from director Terence Young, Connery won Fleming over. Young helped to smooth Connery's rough-and-tumble edges over (as Connery was from a working-class background, he was subsequently introduced by Young to the lifestyle of upper-class London, so Connery can understand the Bond character from a similar perspective), and then used Connery's imposing physique yet amazingly graceful, cat-like carriage so effectively in every scene. All this payed off and Sean Connery started receiving thousands of fan letters per week after the debut of Dr. No, effectively making him a Sex Symbol overnight. In addition, Fleming was so impressed with Connery's performance he later had James Bond's heratige matching with Connery's canon (see earlier).

Connery's favorite of the films was From Russia with Love, one of the most critically acclaimed in the series. He confirmed that, in a 2002 interview with Sam Donaldson for ABCNews.com (American Movie Classics erroneously cited Thunderball as Connery's favorite during its recent Bond retrospectives.)

In 1967 Connery quit the role of Bond, having grown tired of the repetitive plots, lack of character development and the general public's demands on him and his privacy (as well as fearing typecasting), which led Albert R. Broccoli to hire George Lazenby to assume the role in the 1969 film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. After the film's release, Lazenby backed out of a seven-film contract. Broccoli lured Connery back to the role with $1.25 million plus 12.5% of the film's profits, or about $6 million total to do so, then the highest salary for any actor. Connery reprised the official role just one last time in 1971 for Diamonds are Forever, then retired from the role shortly after that release.

Due to, and at the height of, an ongoing legal battle between Broccoli's EON Productions and Kevin McClory (co-writer of Thunderball), McClory was allowed to create a remake of Thunderball after a 10-year span after the release of Thunderball. In the late 1970s McClory teamed with Connery to write an original James Bond film. The project never got off the ground due to further lawsuits brought about by United Artists; however, in 1983 Connery teamed with McClory again to play the role of secret agent James Bond 007 for the seventh and final time in the non-EON Productions film and remake Never Say Never Again. The title of the film has long believed to have derived from Connery's comments after the release of Diamonds Are Forever who, after filming it, claimed he would never play James Bond again. (For the legal battle see the controversy of Thunderball)

Connery returned to the role once more in 2005, providing the voice and likeness of James Bond for the video game adaptation of From Russia with Love.

According to director Sam Mendes, the idea of approaching Connery to portray the part of Kincade in the 2012 film Skyfall was very briefly considered. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Mendes noted that there "was a very brief flirtation with that thought, but it was never going to happen, because I thought it would distract.” [1]

Over 40 years since he first played the role, Connery is still widely regarded as the definitive cinematic incarnation of James Bond, despite credible interpretations of the character by the likes of Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and what many believe to be a more authentic literary performance by Timothy Dalton. Connery's own feelings on Bond in interviews has run the gamut from bitter resentment to great fondness. At one point he joked he hated Bond so much that he'd have killed him, but he has also stated that he never hated Bond, he merely wanted to pursue other roles. Certainly, when the James Bond series was at its peak in the mid-1960s, his association with the 007 image was so intense that fine performances in his non-Bond films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie and Sidney Lumet's The Hill, were being virtually ignored at the time. When asked if he'd ever escape the identification, he replied "It's with me till I go in the box." At another point, he stated that he still cared about the future of the character and franchise, having been associated with the icon for too long not to care, and that all Bond films had their good points.

Post-James Bond Career

Although his most famous role was that of James Bond, Sean Connery has also maintained a highly successful career since, much more so than the other actors who assumed the role. As part of the agreement to appear in Diamonds are Forever, Connery was given carte blanche to produce two films at United Artists but felt that the only film made under this deal, The Offence, was buried by the studio. Apart from The Man Who Would Be King, most of Connery's successes in the next decade were as part of ensemble casts, in films like Murder on the Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far. After the experience with Never Say Never Again and the following court case Connery became unhappy with the major studios and for two years did not make any films. Following the European production The Name of the Rose Connery's interest in more credible material was revived. His performance as a hard-nosed cop in The Untouchables (1987) earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Subsequent box-office hits such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and The Hunt for Red October (1990) secured his place as a bankable leading man. He later received a Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema.

In later years, Connery's filmography included its fair share of box office and critical disappointments such as The Avengers (1998), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), but he also received positive reviews for films including Finding Forrester (2000).

He was planning to star in a $80 million movie about Saladin and the Crusades that would be filmed in Jordan before the death of the producer Moustapha Akkad as a result of the 2005 Amman bombings.


  • Lilacs in the Spring (1955) (role unconfirmed)
  • No Road Back (1957)
  • Hell Drivers (1957)
  • Action of the Tiger (1957)
  • Time Lock (1957)
  • Another Time, Another Place (1958)
  • Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)
  • Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959)
  • On the Fiddle (1961)
  • The Frightened City (1961)
  • The Longest Day (1962)
  • Dr. No (1962)
  • From Russia With Love (1963)
  • Marnie (1964)
  • Women of Straw (1964)
  • Goldfinger (1964)
  • The Hill (1965)
  • Thunderball (1965)
  • A New World (1966) (Cameo)
  • A Fine Madness (1966)
  • You Only Live Twice (1967)
  • Shalako (1968)
  • The Bowler and the Bonnet (1969) (documentary) (also director)
  • The Molly Maguires (1970)
  • The Red Tent (1971)
  • The Anderson Tapes (1971)
  • Diamonds are Forever (1971)
  • A Spain Golf Course (1972) (short subject)
  • The Offence (1973)
  • Zardoz (1974)
  • Murder on the Orient Express (197])
  • The Terrorists (1975)
  • The Dream Factory (1975) (documentary)
  • The Wind and the Lion (1975)
  • The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
  • Robin and Marian (1976)
  • The Next Man (1976)
  • A Bridge Too Far (1977)
  • The Great Train Robbery (1979)
  • Meteor (1979)
  • Cuba (1979)
  • Outland (1981)
  • Time Bandits (1981)
  • G'ole! (1982) (documentary) (narrator)
  • Five Days One Summer (1982)
  • Wrong Is Right (1982)
  • Sean Connery's Edinburgh (1983) (short subject)
  • Never Say Never Again (1983)
  • Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984)
  • Highlander (1986)
  • The Name of the Rose (1986)
  • The Untouchables (1987) as Jim Malone
  • The Presidio (1988)
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  • The Hunt for Red October (1990)
  • The Russia House (1990)
  • Family Business (1991)
  • Medicine Man (1992) (also executive producer)
  • Rising Sun (1993) (also executive producer)
  • A Good Man in Africa (1994)
  • Just Cause (1995)
  • First Knight (1995)
  • Dragonheart (1996) (voice)
  • The Rock (1996) (also executive producer)
  • The Avengers (1998)
  • Entrapment (1999) (also producer)
  • Finding Forrester (2000)
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
  • Sir Billi (2012) (voice)


  • Sean Connery, as a youth, had a job delivering milk to Fettes College, Edinburgh, Scotland. This was James Bond's second school.
  • Had a tattoo from his time in the Royal Navy that said "Scotland Forever" on his forearm. This was often hidden by make up and camera angles in the Bond films.
  • Wore a toupee in all the James Bond movies (excluding Doctor No). He began losing his hair at 21. In most other films, he never wore a wig. Off screen he never hid the fact he was losing his hair.
  • The first American television role was as a porter in an episode of The Jack Benny Show.
  • Took on the role of Zed, in John Boorman's cult science fiction film Zardoz. He had been finding it hard to get work after Bond in the seventies and feared he was typecast. He took a major paycut to appear in the film, but actually received a double salary - Boorman says the producers had budgeted for Sean Connery to have his own driver. Connery offered to drive himself and took that wage too. In the film he appears in a Zapata moustache, wears thigh high boots and wears a red thong.
  • Darrell Hammond plays Connery in the Celebrity Jeopardy sketches on Saturday Night Live. In these sketches, Connery is the contestant on all but two of the sketches, where he insults host Alex Trebek (played by Will Ferrell) of withering invective and sexual innuendo, and answers no questions right. The sketches aired twice a season on SNL from 1996–2002, and returned once more when Ferrell guest-hosted in 2005.
  • Starred in Never Say Never Again with Klaus Maria Brandauer. Coincidentally, Brandauer was originally considered to play Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October.
  • The film Highlander has gained some notoreity, for having the Scotsman Sean Connery playing a Spaniard/ancient Egyptian in his usual accent, while the lead Scottish role is played by Christopher Lambert with a French accent.
  • Did not play a Russian captain in The Hunt for Red October, despite what many sources say. Marko Ramius is supposed to be from Lithuania, back when it was part of the USSR, and actually dislikes the Russians for historical reasons. This is a significant plot point.
  • Sean Connery's line in Finding Forrester, "You're the man now dog," became immortalized as the phrase that started the YTMND website.
  • George Lucas has said on multiple occasions that Connery's portrayal of the character James Bond was one of the primary inspirations for his Indiana Jones character. As a tribute to this, when casting his third Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lucas chose Connery for the role of Indiana's father, with his reasoning being "Who else could play Indiana Jones' father, but the guy who inspired all of this in the first place, James Bond himself!"
  • Sean Connery's likeness was used in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake as a template for the character Big Boss, but not in later Metal Gear games. In the 2006 re-release of the game, his likeness is no longer used, along with all the other characters that had actor likenesses.

External links


Preceded by:
James Bond actor
Succeeded by:
George Lazenby
Preceded by:
George Lazenby
James Bond actor
Succeeded by:
Roger Moore

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