Sean Connery

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Sir Thomas Sean Connery

Connery in 1980
Birth name Thomas Sean Connery
Born August 25, 1930 (age 76)
Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)
Official site
Notable roles James Bond in
Dr. No
Daniel Dravot in
The Man Who Would Be King
Jim Malone in
The Untouchables
Professor Henry Jones in
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Best Supporting Actor
1987 The Untouchables
Spouse(s) Diane Cilento
Micheline Roquebrune

Sir Thomas Sean Connery KBE (born August 25, 1930 in Edinburgh, Scotland) is an Oscar-winning Scottish actor and producer who is best known for his portrayal of James Bond. His character's catchphrase 'Bond, James Bond', has become particularly famous.

Connery is known for his trademark Scottish accent and saturnine good looks. He is repeatedly mentioned as one of the most attractive men alive by magazines, even though he is considerably older than most other sex symbols.


Early life

Connery was born in Edinburgh on August 25, 1930. His father, Joseph Connery, was a Roman Catholic of Irish descent with roots in County Wexford, Ireland, while his mother, Euphamia "Effie" Maclean, was a Protestant. He claims he was called by his middle name Sean long before he became an actor, explaining that he had an Irish friend named Seamus and those who knew them both decided to call him by his middle name whenever he was with Seamus, and it stuck.

His first job was as a milkman with St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society. He then joined the Royal Navy. After being discharged on medical grounds, he briefly returned to the Co-op, then went on to a succession of jobs, including truck driver, labourer, artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art and lifeguard.

Under the name Thom Connery, he placed third in the tall man's division of the 1953 Mr. Universe contest. Another competitor, Johnny Isaacs, suggested that he try out for a stage production of South Pacific, which led to work on the stage, TV, and eventually in films. As a weight lifter, his nickname was "Big Tam".

James Bond

Connery, best known to audiences around the world for his role as James Bond, has appeared as Bond in seven films, beginning with Dr. No in 1962, and concluding with Never Say Never Again in 1983. In all, the Connery-Bond films are:

  • Dr. No ( 1962)
  • From Russia With Love ( 1963)
  • Goldfinger ( 1964)
  • Thunderball ( 1965)
  • You Only Live Twice ( 1967)
  • Diamonds Are Forever ( 1971)
  • Never Say Never Again ( 1983)

The physically imposing, yet light-footed Connery was discovered by Harry Saltzman, after numerous names as possible contenders for Bond were ruled out or unavailable, including most notably David Niven, who later played Bond in the 1967 spoof Casino Royale, and Cary Grant (who was said to have been part of the inspiration for Bond), who was ruled out after committing to only one film; some sources also suggest that Grant, at 58, turned the role down feeling he was too old for the part. Due to the relatively small budget, the producers were forced to go with an unknown, and Connery was cast partly for that reason.

Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, reportedly had doubts about the casting, on the grounds that the muscular, 6'2" Scotsman was too 'unrefined', but a female companion of Fleming's told him that Connery had 'it' and reportedly, that was good enough for Fleming. The author later changed his mind after Dr. No premiered; he was so impressed, he went on to introduce a half-Scottish (and half-Swiss) heritage for his character in the later books. Connery's on-screen portrayal of Bond is due in part to tutelage from director Terence Young, who helped to smooth over Connery's rough edges, while utilizing his physical presence and graceful movements during action sequences. Robert Cotton wrote in one Connery biography that Lois Maxwell (who played the first Miss Moneypenny) noticed, "Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat." Cotton said, "Some cast members remarked that Connery was simply doing a Terence Young impression, but Young and Connery knew they were on the right track."

In 1967, following the unsatisfying experience of filming You Only Live Twice, Connery quit the role, having grown tired of the repetitive plots, lack of character development, and the general public's growing demands on him and his privacy (as well as a fear of being typecast). He also stated that he did not like the direction in which the Bond series was heading, feeling that the filmmakers were straying too far from the source material.

The producers hired George Lazenby to take over the role in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service. However, Lazenby backed out of a seven-film contract, and quit before the film was even released. His performance met with a mixed response from fans and critics.

Connery was enticed back for £1.2 million — at the time, a record salary for an actor. He made his final 'official' appearance as the secret agent in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever.

As a result of a deal between EON Productions and Kevin McClory (co-writer of Thunderball), the latter was given the right to create a remake of Thunderball 13 years after the release of the original film. In the late 1970s, McClory teamed with Connery to write an original James Bond film, but the idea was blocked by lawsuits brought by EON and United Artists. However, the project was revived in the 1980s, and Connery signed to play Bond for the seventh and final time on film in the unofficial film Never Say Never Again. The title of the film has long been believed to have derived from Connery's comments after the release of Diamonds Are Forever. After filming it, he 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.

Connery's favorite Bond film is From Russia With Love, one of the most acclaimed in the series. He confirmed this in a 2002 interview with Sam Donaldson for ( American Movie Classics erroneously listed Thunderball as Connery's favorite during its recent Bond retrospectives.)

Over 40 years after he first played the role, Connery is still widely regarded as the definitive cinematic incarnation of James Bond, despite popular interpretations by the likes of Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton, the latter often considered closer to the Bond of the novels. Connery's own feelings on Bond in interviews have run the gamut from bitter resentment to great fondness. At one point, he said that he hated the Bond character so much that he'd have killed him, but he has also stated that he never hated Bond, but 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 different performances in his non-Bond films, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie, A Fine Madness, and Sidney Lumet's The Hill, were virtually ignored. When asked if he'd ever escape the identification, he replied, "Never. It's with me till I go in the box."

At another point, Connery 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. He praised Pierce Brosnan's performance as Bond in GoldenEye, but was critical of Timothy Dalton's portrayal, saying the actor had taken it too seriously . In December 2005, Connery also voiced his support for Daniel Craig, the latest actor chosen to play Bond, for Casino Royale.

Post-James Bond career

Although his most famous role was that of Bond, Sean Connery has also maintained a successful career since, much more so than any of 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 for 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 such as Murder on the Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far. After his 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 successful European production The Name of the Rose, for which he won a BAFTA award, Connery's interest in more credible material was revived. That same year, a supporting role in Highlander showcased his ability to play older, wise mentors to young, leading protagonists, which would become a recurring role in many of his later films. The following year, his acclaimed 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) (in which he played father to Harrison Ford, actually only 12 years his junior), The Hunt for Red October ( 1990), The Rock ( 1996), and Entrapment ( 1999) re-established him as a bankable leading man. Both Last Crusade and The Rock alluded to his James Bond days. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wanted "the father of Indy" to be Connery since Bond directly inspired the Indiana Jones series, while his character in The Rock, John Patrick Mason, was a British secret service agent imprisoned since the 1960s. In more recent years, Connery's filmography has 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 also later received a Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema.

In September 2004, media reports indicated that Connery intended to retire after pulling out of Josiah's Canon, which was set for a 2005 release. However, in a December 2004 interview with The Scotsman newspaper from his home in the Bahamas, Connery explained he had taken a break from acting in order to concentrate on writing his autobiography. However, the book project was later abandoned because the publishers wanted to delve too far into his private life. Connery has long denied accusations from his first wife Diane Cilento that he physically abused her during their marriage.

About a month before his 75th birthday, over the weekend of July 30th/31st 2005, it was widely reported in the broadcast media (and again in The Scotsman ), that he had decided to retire from film making following disillusionment with the "idiots now in Hollywood", and the turmoil making and subsequent box office failure of the 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He stated in interviews for the film included on the DVD release that he was offered roles in both The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings series, declining both due to "not understanding them", and after they went on to have huge box office grosses he decided to accept the League role despite not "understanding" it either.

At the Tartan Day celebrations in New York in March 2006, Connery again confirmed his retirement from acting, and stated that he is now writing a history book.

As a personality he has been accused of being an overbearing bully but has also been praised as a highly professional actor, courteous and supportive of those around him. He made a big impression on actors such as Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Pat Adams, and Christopher Lambert, who considered him a great friend during filming. His punctual example and highly vocal refusal to tolerate her tardiness left a lasting impression on Catherine Zeta-Jones.

He was planning to star in a $80 million movie about Saladin and the Crusades that would be filmed in Jordan before the producer Moustapha Akkad was killed in the 2005 Amman bombings. Connery received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award on 8 June 2006, where he again confirmed his retirement from acting.

It is still strongly rumored that he will reprise his role as Indiana Jones's father in the forthcoming Indiana Jones film. This rumor has not been confirmed or denied by the studio or any of the actors involved.

Personal life

He was married to the Australian-born actress Diane Cilento from 1962 until 1973 (he was her second husband). They have one son, Jason Connery (born January 11, 1963), who was educated at Millfield School in Somerset, England, and the rigorous Gordonstoun boarding school in Scotland, before going on to become an actor. According to Jason, his parents' divorce was an extremely bitter and painful affair (Diane Cilento has reportedly just written an autobiography that paints an unflattering portrait of her ex-husband). In 1975, Sean Connery married French artist Micheline Roquebrune, who is the grandmother of French television journalist Stéphanie Renouvin.

Accusations of Abuse

  • In her autobiography My Nine Lives and subsequent interviews on radio and in print The Scotsman Diane Cilento claimed that Connery had beaten her on several occasions, which Connery vehemently denied.
  • He caused an uproar in a December 1987 interview with Barbara Walters in which he said it was okay for a man to slap a woman with limited force, assuming that it was required to calm her down or "keep her in line." ( see the video here. interview) Connery had made similar remarks in a November 1965 interview with Playboy magazine on the set of Thunderball.
  • In Vanity Fair in 1993 he said: "There are women who take it to the wire. That's what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation. They want a smack."
  • In an interview with Guitar World Magazine, Connery stated "You aren't a man unless you abuse that which man loves most: a guitar."

Political causes

Sean Connery at a Tartan Day celebration in Washington D.C.
Sean Connery at a Tartan Day celebration in Washington D.C.

Connery has long supported the Scottish National Party, a political party campaigning for Scottish independence, both financially and through personal appearances. His involvement in Scottish politics, however, has often provoked severe criticism, since he has not actually lived in Scotland for more than fifty years. His support for the SNP is illustrated by a comment from his official website:

Sean Connery
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.
Sean Connery

— on Sean Connery's support of the Scottish National Party,

Connery used half of his fee from Diamonds Are Forever (1971) to establish a charity to support deprived children in Edinburgh as well as Scottish Film production. It was suggested in 1997 that the Labour government had prevented him being knighted for his charitable work because of his support for the SNP. At the time a Labour Party spokesman stated Connery's knighthood had been blocked because of remarks the actor had made in past interviews condoning the physical abuse of women. His nationalist beliefs have often been derided by political opponents, especially given his status as a tax exile living in the Bahamas.

Connery received the Légion d'honneur in 1991. He received Kennedy Center Honours 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. He also 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.


In 1993 news that Connery was undergoing radiation treatment for an undisclosed throat ailment sparked media reports that the actor was suffering from throat cancer following years of heavy smoking, and he was falsely declared dead by the Japanese and South African news agencies. Connery immediately appeared on the David Letterman show to deny all of this. In a February 1995 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he claimed the radiation treatment was to remove "nodules" from his vocal chords. In 2003 he had surgery to remove cataracts from both eyes. On March 12, 2006, he announced he was recovering from surgery to remove a kidney tumour in January. The tumour is thought to have been benign.


Main Filmography
Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959) | The Longest Day (1962) | Dr. No (1962) | From Russia with Love (1963) | Goldfinger (1964) | Woman of Straw (1964)  | Marnie (1964)  | Thunderball (1965) | The Hill (1965) | A Fine Madness (1966) | You Only Live Twice (1967) | Shalako (1968) | The Molly Maguires (1970) | The Anderson Tapes (1971) | Diamonds Are Forever (1971) | Zardoz (1973) | Murder on the Orient Express (1974) | The Man Who Would Be King (1975) | The Wind and the Lion (1975) | Robin and Marian (1976) | A Bridge Too Far(1977) | The Name of the Rose (1986) | Highlander (1986) | The Untouchables (1987) | Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) | The Russia House (1990) | The Hunt for Red October (1990) | Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) | Rising Sun (1993) | First knight (1995) | The Rock (1996) | Entrapment (1999) | Finding Forrester (2000) | The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003


  • He wore a toupee in all the James Bond movies. He began losing his hair at 21. Privately and in most other movies, he wears none.
  • His first American television role was as a porter in an episode of The Jack Benny Show.
  • He is also a lifelong fan of Celtic F.C, but attends the occasional Rangers F.C game as he is a close friend of the Chairman, David Murray.
  • Connery was offered a trial for Manchester United football club, but declined the chance to pursue his acting career.
  • Was voted to have the worst movie accent by Empire Magazine. He has been derided, but also applauded, for using the same accent for every character, despite playing roles as diverse as an Irish cop (The Untouchables), Richard I of England (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), and a Soviet submarine captain (The Hunt for Red October).
  • Connery had been the original choice for The Thomas Crown Affair ( 1968) but declined, a decision he later regretted. The role went to Steve McQueen. Coincidentally, the 1999 remake of the same name starred the fifth Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan.
  • Sean Connery's line in Finding Forrester, "You're the man now, dog," became well-known 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, 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)
  • Is the honorary chairman of the Friends of Scotland organization.
  • Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond novels and movies, initially had reservations about the casting of Sean Connery for the first James Bond film, saying Connery was "too unrefined." However, Fleming would later change his mind, and say that Connery was ideal for the role.
  • He was once quoted saying "It is OK to hit a woman if they deserved it or needed it to keep them in line, but you don't hit a woman the same way you hit a man." The last part of this quote is usually forgotten, and caused an uproar when he said it.
  • Allegedly, while filming the movie, Another Time, Another Place, Lana Turner was rumored to have been having an affair with Connery, her costar. Johnny Stompanato stormed onto the set, and during a verbal altercation with Connery, Stompanato waved a gun in Connery's face. Connery reacted by taking the gun away from him, physically beating Stompanato and sending him off the film set. After Stompanato's death, there were rumors that organized crime mobsters believed Connery had helped bring on the eventual demise of Stompanato, and Connery is alleged to have laid low for a time. There is no evidence that Connery and Turner were having an affair; this sort of behaviour was apparently normal for Stompanato.
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