Professionally known as Sean Connery, Sir Thomas Sean Connery was an actor and producer. He was best known as the first actor to play James Bond, a fictional Intelligence Agent created by journalist and novelist Ian Fleming in 1953.
Fleming initially doubted Connery’s casting. But after the first film of the actor playing James Bond, the novelist was so impressed that he wrote the actor’s heritage into the character in his next novel making the character’s father a Scottish man from Glencoe, Highland, Scotland, United Kingdom.
Before becoming a professional actor, Connery was into bodybuilding and football. He also worked as a milkman, a lifeguard, a lorry driver, a coffin polisher and an artist’s model.
Connery was married twice and has one son. Here are 13 more things about the late actor:
- He was born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland on August 25, 1930 to factory worker and lorry driver Joseph Connery and cleaning woman Euphemia “Effie” McBain McLean. Joseph was Irish-Scottish and a Roman Catholic while McLean was Scottish and a Protestant.
- On July 20, 1944, he started his job as a milkman at Scotmid‘s headquarters in Fountainbridge, which was opened on December 25, 1880. His starting salary was 21 shillings a week (£1.05 / $1.36).
- He acquired two tattoos when he joined the Royal Navy in 1946. One read “Mum and Dad” while the other read “Scotland Forever.” In 1949, he was discharged from the navy on medical grounds because of a duodenal ulcer.
- In 1951, he worked as a nude model for students at the Edinburgh College of Art in Edinburgh. A nude painting of him was displayed in public for the first time in 2011.
- In 1954, he made his acting debut by playing a bit role in the romantic comedy film “Let’s Make Up,” which was originally titled “Lilacs in the Spring.” He was not credited. In the same year, he played a policeman in the short film “Simon.”
- In 1956, he played Joe Brasted in “Dixon of Dock Green” Season 2 episode 1 “Ladies of the Manor” and appeared in the television movie “The Condemned.” From 1956 to 1960, he played various roles in “ITV Play of the Week.”
- He married actress Diane Cliento in 1962. She gave birth to their son Jason Joseph Connery on January 11, 1963 in Marylebone, London, England, U.K. They separated in 1971 and divorced in 1973. In 1975, he married Moroccan-French painter Micheline Roquebrune, who was born in 1929.
- His portrayal of Michael McBride in the 1959 film “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” caught the attention of producer Cubby Broccoli, who had the rights to the James Bond character. He played James Bond in the films “Dr. No” in 1962, “From Russia with Love” in 1963, “Goldfinger” in 1964, “Thunderball” in “1965, “You Only Live Twice” in 1967, “Diamonds Are Forever” in 1971 and “Never Say Never Again” in 1983. In “You Only Live Twice,” Oyama Masutatsu Sosai awarded an honorary Shodan in Kyokushinkai to him. While taking martial arts lessons during the filming of “Never Say Never Again,” he angered his instructor Steven Seagal, who in turn broke his wrist.
- He played Jim Malone in “The Untouchables,” which also starred Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia and Robert De Niro and was released in 1987. For this role, he won Best Supporting Actor at the 1988 Academy Awards.
- He was nominated for a knighthood in 1997 and in 1998. He played Sir August de Wynter in “The Avengers” and Paul in “Playing by Heart” in 1998. He was an actor an a producer in “Entrapment” in 1999 and in “Finding Forrester” in 2000. On July 5, 2000, Queen Elizabeth II knighted him at an investiture ceremony at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh
- On June 8, 2006, he confirmed his retirement from acting as he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. He recited “Ithaca,” an epic poem by C.P. Cavafy, in “Modern Greeks: C.P. Cavafy,” a TV movie documentary released in 2007.
- In 2010, a bronze bust sculpture of him was placed in Tallinn, Estonia. The Scottish Club of Tallin raised about $14,000 to have the statue made by sculptor Tiiu Kirsipuu, according to Looper.
- After retiring from acting, he enjoyed a private life with Roquebrune in Nassau in the Bahamas. In 2017, he was seen in New York, United States wearing a black hat, shades, blue shirt, gray pants and black and red shoes while walking with a black walking stick. On October 31, 2020, he died in his sleep at his home in Nassau.