While growing up as a boy we all had hero’s once you reached puberty. Well James Bond was mine. He was the hero we all wanted to be and I’m sure every young male had their first hard-on watching a James Bond movie. Let’s remember him as the hero he was and will be throughout time.
From Bodybuilder To Bond: Remembering The Life Of Sean Connery
BY LIAM HESS1 NOVEMBER 2020
Sean Connery, the Oscar-winning Scottish actor best known for his legendary performances in the earliest James Bond films, has died at the age of 90 at his home in Nassau, Bahamas. The news was confirmed on 31 October by Connery’s family with no immediate cause of death given, although his son James noted that Connery had been “unwell for some time”.
Connery’s passing marks the end of a seven-decade-long career across film, television, and theatre. Aside from his iconic performance as Bond, the actor also delivered dramatic turns while working with legendary directors including Alfred Hitchcock, Brian de Palma, and Steven Spielberg. His many accolades, meanwhile, included an Academy Award for his performance in 1987’s The Untouchables, two BAFTA Awards, and two Golden Globes, including the Cecil B DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in entertainment.
Born to a working-class family in Edinburgh, Connery’s ascent to the heights of Hollywood stardom was a winding one. As a teenager, he worked variously as a lorry driver, a lifeguard, and a professional bodybuilder, as well as a soldier in the Royal Navy. After being spotted at a bodybuilding competition in London, Connery was invited to join the company of a touring production of South Pacific as a chorus boy; later, he was promoted to a speaking role. A more serious career in the theatre followed, with Connery embarking on a crash course in acting by devouring the works of the medium’s greatest writers and taking elocution lessons to improve his technical abilities.
His breakthrough role would also remain his most memorable to this day. Appearing as Ian Fleming’s MI6 spy James Bond in 1962’s Dr No – and in six subsequent movies, all overseen by legendary film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli – Connery beat out some of the biggest stars of the day for the role, including Richard Burton and Cary Grant, with Broccoli’s wife Dana convincing him that Connery’s raw charisma and sexual magnetism would bring the part to life. Originally dismissed by Fleming as lacking the necessary refinement for the role, his mind was quickly changed after seeing Connery on screen, with the writer even later fleshing out the Bond character’s backstory to include Scottish origins.
Connery would go on to star in what remain some of the franchise’s most memorable films to this day, including From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), and Diamonds are Forever (1971). Despite the international fame and fortune the role brought him, Connery at times expressed his frustration with being pigeonholed due to Bond, even stepping down from the role for a brief period before returning to the tune of an unprecedented $1.25 million fee for Diamonds are Forever. In his later years, however, Connery grew to appreciate his legacy, even voicing Bond once again for a video game based on From Russia with Love in 2005.
Throughout his period as Bond, Connery made a memorable turn as the foil to Tippi Hedren’s con artist in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie. Despite earning mixed reviews upon release, the film has been reassessed by critics as an underrated gem within Hitchcock’s body of work, with Connery’s performance also garnering greater appreciation.
Following a slower period, Connery’s career had a second life in the late 1980s as he began to embrace more commercial roles, including his BAFTA-winning performance in a 1986 film adaptation of Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, a supporting role in action-adventure film Highlander in the same year, and an acclaimed turn as an Irish-American cop in 1987’s The Untouchables, for which he would earn his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. For moviegoers of a certain age, another of his most memorable performances came with 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, in which Connery appeared as Jones’s estranged father. Connery continued to work regularly up until his retirement in 2006, appearing largely in supporting roles, often riffing on his iconic rumbling vocal timbre, thick Scottish accent, and brusque humour.
Despite marrying just twice, his personal life was as colourful as that of any Bond film, with a number of high-profile relationships with some of the most glamorous women of the 1970s, including his Diamonds are Forever co-star Jill St John. A keen golfer and footballer, Connery also held a black belt in karate; throughout his life, he resisted the Hollywood lifestyle, instead spending the bulk of his time at his homes in Spain, Portugal, and the Caribbean. In his later years, he also became a prominent figure in the Scottish Independence movement; as a vocal member of the Scottish National Party, he regularly donated significant sums of money to the cause.
Tributes have already begun pouring in for Connery from his family, fans, and former co-workers, including the Broccoli family, current Bond Daniel Craig, and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. While Connery’s performances as Bond may be his most memorable legacy, many have also paid tribute to his wide-ranging career outside of the franchise. Given Connery was always fiercely proud of his Scottish roots, however, his greatest accolade on a personal level is surely the pride felt by his country. Being named in numerous polls conducted by Scottish newspapers as “the greatest living Scot,” his lasting legacy will be felt far beyond his mesmerising onscreen presence.