Sean Connery, the rugged, sardonically assured Scotsman who won an Academy Award and portrayed James Bond seven times, proving to the world that nobody could do it better, has died. He was 90.
A man with the Midas touch when it came to Agent 007, Connery laid down the Bond blueprint by starring in the first five United Artists movies to feature Ian Fleming’s British superspy: Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963) — said to be the actor’s personal favorite — Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967). That fulfilled his original contract.
After Connery rebuffed an offer of $1 million and said he was finished with Bond, George Lazenby stepped in to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service(1969), but the Australian actor was one and done. Connery then accepted a then-record $1.25 million salary — plus a promise that UA would fund two non-Bond films for him — to return as 007 in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
“Fed up to here with the whole Bond bit,” Connery spurned a $5 million payday to star in Live and Let Die (1973), handing over the reins to Englishman Roger Moore. But Connery would portray 007 one last time, at age 52, in the aptly titled (and unofficial Bond film) Never Say Never Again (1983) at Warner Bros.
Connery always resisted becoming a one-note actor and starred in a wide array of films, often playing a no-nonsense, man of action — like the tough, Irish cop who mentors Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness in The Untouchables (1987), directed by Brian De Palma. That role earned him his Oscar.
The handsome star also starred for Alfred Hitchcock in Marnie (1964) and for Sidney Lumet in the physically demanding The Hill (1965), The Anderson Tapes (1971), The Offence (1973), Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Family Business (1989).
He was memorable in sweeping adventure tales like John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Wind and the Lion (1975) and, as a famous archeologist’s father, in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). And he portrayed the legend of Sherwood Forest opposite Audrey Hepburn in Richard Lester’s medieval romance Robin and Marian (1976).
Survivors include his second wife, the French-born artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he wed in 1975, and his son Jason, an actor and the director of the 2017 Scottish golf film Tommy’s Honour.
Connery’s first wife was the late Australian actress Diane Cilento (Tom Jones, The Wicker Man).
Bleeding Fool offers its sincere condolences to Sir Connery’s family, friends and his many generations of fans.