Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh in 1930. Connery comes from a working class background – his mother a cleaner his father a factory worker and driver; inheriting their work ethic he did many jobs, including a stint in the Navy, building work and polishing coffins before achieving star status as a successful actor. Connery’s much-admired physique was toned through his interest in bodybuilding. In 1950 he competed in the Mr Universe completion and gained third place. Nearly forty years later, in 1989, he was voted the world’s sexiest man by readers of People magazine.
Sean Connery has always been proud of and committed to his Scottish roots – one of his tattoos proclaims Scotland Forever. He was instrumental in setting up the Scottish Education International Trust to which he donated his earnings from the film Diamonds Are Forever. Early in his acting career, in 1962, he appeared in the title role of a televised version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. His son, Jason Connery, starred opposite Helen Baxendale in a 1997 film version of the same play.
Sean Connery became the first James Bond in the film Dr No in 1962. The role of secret agent 007, which he reprised in six more Bond films, brought him fame and fortune. His looks, fitness and resonating voice all contributed to his success. He gained superhero status and had the opportunity to work with beautiful – often scantily clad! – women. In 1969 George Lazenby took on the Bond role in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but he only lasted the one film and Connery was back as Bond again in 1971 with Diamonds Are Forever. Connery at the time claimed this was the last time he would play James Bond, and the title of his final Bond film Never Say Never Again (1983) alludes to that claim! Never Say Never Again is a remake of Thunderball, which Connery starred in in 1965, this time made by a different production company – all his other Bond films were made by Eon. The script was adapted in light of Connery’s age – 52 - though he still appears remarkably youthful and fit in the film.
Post-Bond Connery has appeared in a wide selection of films including The Hunt for Red October and the delightful Entrapment with Catherine Zeta Jones. In 2000 Sean Connery gained a knighthood which was awarded by the Queen in Edinburgh on a day that Connery claimed was ”one of the proudest days of my life".
If you want to find out more bout the James Bond films and the influence they have had try the book The Man With The Golden Touch by Sinclair McKay:
I enjoyed and would recommend the film Entrapment, starring an older Connery as an international art thief.