Legendary actor and icon Sean Connery has died at the age of 90 at his home in the Bahamas.
The Scottish actor left behind a remarkable career of works and legendary roles. Most infamously, Sean Connery was the first actor to play James Bond in the 1962 film, Dr. No. Connery would play Bond in six EON films, but would return to star as Bond in the non-EON film, Never Say Never Again in 1983.
But Sean Connery was more than just the original Bond. He worked with Alfred Hitchcock in 1964’s Marnie. He would appear as Robin Hood in 1976’s Robin and Marian, King Richard the Lionheart in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and play King Agamemnon in Terry Gilliam’s 1981 film Time Bandits. Connery was essential to the Highlander series and would become somewhat of an action star in the 1990s, appearing in such films as The Hunt for the Red October, Michael Bay’s The Rock and 1999’s Entrapment.
When George Lucas and Steven Spielberg needed a father for their action hero Indiana Jones, Sean Connery was their choice in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Lucas said of Connery, “With an air of intelligent authority and sly sense of comedic mischief, only someone like Sean Connery could render Indiana Jones immediately into boyish regret or relief through a stern fatherly chiding or rejoiceful hug.“
In 1987, Sean Connery would play Jim Malone in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, a role that would earn him his only Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Over his distinguished career, Sean Connery won a remarkable amount of awards and honors. In addition to his Academy Award, Sean Connery also won two BATFAs, three Golden Globes, as well as the Golden Globes’ Cecil B. DeMille Award. He received the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. In 1999, Connery received the Kennedy Center Honors lifetime achievement award, and in 2000, he was knighted for services to film drama.
In 2004, Sean Connery was called “The Greatest Living Scot,” as voted by readers of the Sunday Herald. In 1989, People magazine voted him the “Sexiest Man Alive,” and in 1999, he was called the “Sexiest Man of the Century.”
Sean Connery’s final film performance was in 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where he played Allan Quartermain, a production so troubled that it led to the actor’s retirement. Connery, “I’m fed up with the idiots…the ever-widening gap between people who know how to make movies and the people who green-light the movies.”
Yet despite his retirement, Sean Connery had been asked to return to the movies for some major projects. Connery turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy because he “never understood it.” He also was asked to appear as the Architect in the Matrix films. When asked if he would return for 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Connery said, “If anything could have pulled me out of retirement, it would have been an Indiana Jones film.” The actor continued, “But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun.”
In recent years, Sean Connery has received criticism for past interviews with Barbara Walters and in Playboy about his comments towards women, including stating that he didn’t believe “there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman.” Sean Connery’s first wife, Diane Cilento, said in her autobiography that Connery abused her mentally and physically. Connery has previously denied his stance on violence against women and denied Cilento’s claims.
Many of Sean Connery’s former costars and admirers have made touching statements about the passing of the actor. Current James Bond actor Daniel Craig said of Connery, “He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.” Connery’s The Rock costar Nicolas Cage said, “I was happiest when I was working with him – his wisdom, humbleness, and extreme honesty has guided me ever since I met him.” Another former Bond, Pierce Brosnan, said, “You were mighty in every way, as an actor and as a man, and will remain so till the end of time.”
Sean Connery was survived by his wife of 45 years, Micheline Roquebrune, and his son, Jason Connery. With a tremendous career that full of legendary characters that still resonate today and a filmography that helped craft movies as we now know them, Connery’s legacy is one that won’t soon be forgotten.