The tall, handsome and muscular Scottish actor Sean Connery is best known for being the original actor to portray the character of James Bond in the hugely successful movie franchise, starring in seven films between 1962 and 1983. Some believed that such a career-defining role might leave him unable to escape it, but he proved the doubters wrong, becoming one of the most notable film actors of his generation, with a host of great movies to his name. This arguably culminated in his greatest acclaim in 1988, when Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an Irish cop in The Untouchables (1987), stealing the thunder from the movie's principal star Kevin Costner. His film career also includes such films as Marnie (1964), The Name of the Rose (1986), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Highlander (1986), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), DragonHeart (1996) and The Rock (1996). Connery has been polled as "The Greatest Living Scot" and "Scotland's Greatest Living National Treasure". In 1989, he was proclaimed "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine, and in 1999, at age 69, he was voted "Sexiest Man of the Century".
Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother, Euphemia McBain (née McLean), was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and truck driver. He has a brother, Neil Connery, who works as a plasterer in Edinburgh. He is of Irish and Scottish descent. Before going into acting, Sean had many different jobs, such as a milkman, lorry driver, a laborer, artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art, coffin polisher and bodybuilder. He also joined the Royal Navy, but was later discharged because of medical problems. At the age of 23, he had a choice between becoming a professional footballer or an actor, and even though he showed much promise in the sport, he chose acting and said it was one of his more intelligent moves.
No Road Back (1957) was Sean's first major movie role, and it followed by several Tv-movies such as Anna Christie (1957), Macbeth (1961) and Anna Karenina (1961) and guest appearances on TV-series, and also films such as Hell Drivers (1957), Another Time, Another Place (1958), Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959), The Frightened City (1961). In 1962 he appeared in The Longest Day (1962) with a host of other stars.
Connery's breakthrough came in the role of secret agent James Bond. He was reluctant to commit to a film series, but understood that if the films succeeded his career would greatly benefit. He played the character in the first five Bond films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967) - then appeared again as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983). All seven films were commercially successful. James Bond, as portrayed by Connery, was selected as the third-greatest hero in cinema history by the American Film Institute. Connery's selection for the role of James Bond owed a lot to Dana Broccoli, wife of producer "Cubby" Broccoli, who is reputed to have been instrumental in persuading her husband that Connery was the right man. James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, originally doubted Connery's casting, saying, "He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks", and "I'm looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man," adding that Connery (muscular, 6' 2", and a Scot) was unrefined. Fleming's girlfriend told him that Connery had the requisite sexual charisma, and Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr. No (1962) premiere. He was so impressed, he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for Bond in the later novels. Connery's portrayal of Bond owes much to stylistic tutelage from director Terence Young, polishing the actor while using his physical grace and presence for the action. Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny, related that, "Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat." The tutoring was successful; Connery received thousands of fan letters a week, and the actor became one of the great male sex symbols of film. During the filming of Thunderball (1965), Connery's life was in danger in the sequence with the sharks in Emilio Largo's pool. He had been concerned about this threat when he read the script. Connery insisted that Ken Adam build a special Plexiglas partition inside the pool, but, despite this, it was not a fixed structure and one of the sharks managed to pass through it. He had to abandon the pool immediately. Connery was forced to wear a toupee during each of the Bond movies because he had started balding at the age of 17. This didn't prevent Connery from being cast in roles, although it became more noticeable in his later years. In 2005, From Russia with Love was adapted by Electronic Arts into a video game, titled From Russia with Love (2005), which featured all-new voice work by Connery as well as his likeness, and those of several of the film's supporting cast.
After and during the success of the Bond-films he has maintained a successful career as an actor and has appeared in films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), The Hill (1965), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Wind and the Lion (1975), Time Bandits (1981), Highlander (1986), The Name of the Rose (1986), The Untouchables (1987) (which earned him an Oscar for best actor in a supporting role), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Rising Sun (1993), The Rock (1996), Finding Forrester (2000), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).
Sean married actress Diane Cilento in 1962 and they had a son, Jason Connery, born on January 11, 1963, he followed in his father's footsteps and also became an actor. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973. In 1975 he married Micheline Roquebrune and they have stayed married, they have no children together. He is also a grandfather. His son, Jason and his ex-wife, actress Mia Sara had a son, Dashiell Quinn Connery, in 1997.
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