Sean Connery, Iconic James Bond Actor, Dies at 90
Connery’s passing was first reported by the BBC. They gave no cause of death, but said that Connery “died overnight in his sleep, while in the Bahamas. It is understood he had been unwell for some time.”
He first played Bond in 1962’s Dr. No. Others had played the character before, but Connery was the one who made Ian Fleming’s master spy into a cinematic legend. His introduction as the character, which included his trademark greeting “Bond. James Bond,” will be remembered as long as movies exist:
Born in Edinburgh in 1930, Connery almost pursued a career in soccer and even entered bodybuilding competitions before deciding to go into acting instead. His first major role came in 1957 on the BBC, starring in a TV production of Requiem For a Heavyweight. A few years later, Producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli needed a man to play 007 for their new film series. Connery was chosen, according to legend, because Broccoli’s wife Dana was convinced he was the most handsome and charismatic of all the choices. She was right. (Bond author Ian Fleming supposedly disagreed with Connery’s casting at first, saying he wasn’t "what I envisioned of James Bond looks,” and calling Connery “an overgrown stuntman.” He was wrong.)
Connery starred in Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice, before the fame, hectic shooting and publicity schedules, and a fear of being typecast as James Bond convinced him it was time to move on. Connery quit, but was convinced to return one more time, for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. (Connery also made one Bond film outside the “official” series, Never Say Never Again, in 1983.) Decades later, Connery remains the standard by which all other Bond actors are measured. Every actor who has played Bond has brought things to the role, but Connery will forever be the man who defined him.
Connery’s memorable movies after his Bond days include Zardoz, A Bridge Too Far, Robin and Marian, Time Bandits, Highlander, The Hunt For Red October, and as Indiana Jones’ absentee father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Connery won his only Oscar — and received his only nomination for one — in 1988 for his supporting role in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, playing one of Eliot Ness’ allies in the Chicago Police Department.
Connery remained a popular and successful action star right up until the end of his career, and he continued appearing in adventure movies like The Rock and Entrapment well into his late 60s. Few actors at any age could exude quiet confidence and total determination and power quite like Sean Connery when he was almost 70 years old.
Connery lent his voice to an obscure 2012 animated movie named Sir Billi but otherwise remained out of the spotlight after his final film, 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. There were rumors of comebacks, and attempts to coax him out of retirement, but they never came to fruition. Now he’s gone. Still, Connery’s work will outlive him — and all of us — many times over.
Gallery — Every James Bond Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best: