Scottish actor Thomas Sean Connery, who celebrated his 90th birthday in August, has died. His family confirms this to the BBC. According to The Independent, the actor, best known for his iconic portrayal of James Bond, died in his sleep in the Bahamas. The exact cause of death is not yet known, but Connery is said to have been struggling with his health for a while.
Connery became known worldwide as the actor who portrayed secret agent James Bond, and to many fans, he was also the one and only 007. In the period 1962-1983, he played that role seven times – he was first seen in ‘Dr. No’.
Connery was not the first Bond, however. The American actor Barry Nelson took that honor in a television adaptation from 1954. Connery’s portrayal of Bond was already widely appreciated by a wide audience. For example, this year, he was voted the best James Bond ever.
His role as Bond earned Connery a fortune – his net worth is estimated at $ 350 million – but that was once different. The actor came from a hardworking working-class family in Edinburgh – his father was a truck driver, his mother a cleaner.
The wealthy retired actor did not spend his early years on stage in London theaters at all but as a milkman and coffin cleaner. When American producer Cubby Broccoli first met him, his looks and muscular body made him the ideal candidate for a film role in ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’.
Broccoli, which is Ian Fleming’s book ‘Dr. No’, Connery did not initially consider good enough, and director Alvin Rakoff was not convinced at first. “As long as he didn’t lose that terrible accent, he was not suitable for big things”, said the latter. “But I was wrong. I didn’t even think about casting him until my then-wife, Jacqueline Hill, suggested it. At first, I thought she was joking. How wrong I was.”
In addition to the Bond franchise, Connery also played in ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ and in blockbusters such as ‘The Hunt For Red October’ and ‘The Rock’. He has received several awards during his career, including an Oscar (for best supporting actor in ‘The Untouchables’), two Baftas, and three Golden Globes.
Although his role as ‘007’ continues to haunt him. “I will never deny that Bond made me who I am, and I will be eternally grateful to him. But that doesn’t make me a Bondslave. I can release the chains whenever I want,” he said in an interview with The New York Times.
Connery’s career spanned no less than 5 decades and dozens of films. The last production he played in was the ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ in 2003. Three years later, in 2006, he officially announced his retirement. “I don’t think I’ll ever act again. I have many good memories, but those days are over,” he said. He stood his ground, even when he was offered a small role in the Bond film ‘Skyfall’ (2012). In 2000 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his distinguished career.
On a private level, the actor got off to an eventful start. In 1962 he got married to theater actress Diane Cilento. The two had a son Jason, but their relationship did not last. When they filed for divorce in 1973, the tabloids feasted on the break.
The star actor would have abused his ex. He denied all allegations but said in an interview with Playboy earlier that “there is nothing wrong with hitting a woman if there have been enough warnings.” Two years later, in 1975, Connery met the painter Micheline Roquebrune during a game of golf, and they soon agreed to each other. The two stayed together until the end of his life.
After retirement, the actor disappeared into anonymity. The man was fed up with the ubiquitous paparazzi and their flashing cameras. Meanwhile, rumors are starting to circulate about the health of the legendary ‘007’.
Connery is said to have problems with his memory and often does not know where he is. That would put extra pressure on his wife, who fears that at some point, her husband will not find his way home again. However, those Alzheimer’s rumors were never confirmed.
In 2019, one of Connery’s last photos appeared on social media. A snapshot of his 89th birthday with son Jason and daughter-in-law Fiona Ufton. The actor looks cheerful, but you also notice that old age is starting to take hold of him.
He celebrated his ninetieth birthday in peace with his wife last summer in the Bahamas, where he retired for years. “The Scot enjoys a quiet lifestyle and is not bothered by anyone. Everything is arranged for him, he does not lack anything. It seldom happens that he sets foot outside, and hardly anyone comes by. He’s actually become a hermit,” an insider recently told British newspaper The Sun.
The fact is that Sir Sean was surrounded by every luxury. He had a million-dollar villa with a swimming pool, perfectly manicured lawns, and highly personal security guards. It is also in the Bahamas that the race actor breathed his last.