The world has lost an icon of the Hollywood film industry in Sir Sean Connery, the actor best known for bringing Ian Fleming’s super-spy, James Bond, to life on the big screen. Making his début in 1960’s Dr. No, his portrayal wasn’t favoured by critics, but he was quickly endeared by fans.
The Scottish actor, who was born in 1930 in the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh, left school with no qualifications. As his family struggled for money, he found work where he could, doing stints cleaning coffins and working as a milkman.
He then joined the Royal Navy, leaving due to illness three years later. He considered a career in football but soon discovered his passion for acting in local theatre.
His acting career began with minor roles, until he landed his first leading role in 1957’s Bloody Money, playing a boxer with a failing career.
When he arrived for the role, for which he is most famous for now, creator Ian Fleming was not best pleased, stating, “I’m looking for Commander Bond, not an overgrown stuntman.” He quickly changed his mind after seeing Connery’s performance.
Connery starred in four more Bond films following the success of Dr. No; from Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.
By the time Goldfinger hit cinema screens in 1964, Connery was struggling to cope with the publicity that came along with playing the world’s most famous fictional secret agent, and took on other roles, starring in Hitcock’s Marnie, among others.
He received a knighthood for his services to acting in 2000.
Connery’s Bond is now a part of the history books, the portrayal of women in the film series turning heads today. The fact remains, however: for millions of fans around the world, he will forever be the man who brought Ian Fleming’s vision to life, and his legacy will continue for many years to come. Put simply, he was James Bond.