Actor Sean Connery died at the age of 90 on October 31 at his residence in the Bahamas, his son Jason Connery announced. He told BBC that his father was “unwell for some time”.
The actor who made James Bond iconic and international as the charming and witty spy agent, was born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. Born of Scottish descent, Connery traversed through various forms of employment before becoming an actor of global repute.
He started by doing odd jobs in Edinburgh and somewhere between working as a milkman and a lorry driver, among other things, he joined the Royal Navy. After getting discharged from the force on medical grounds, he worked as a lifeguard and then started modelling. Throughout this time, Connery was consistent at working as a body-builder and a weight-lifter.
While he debuted as an uncredited actor with the 1954 film Lilacs in the Spring, his acting breakthrough came with the 1962 film Dr. No, the first film ever in the James Bond franchise based on author Ian Fleming’s spy series. He went on to feature as 007 in six other films from the same franchise, catapulting him to the status a global star.
According to a report by The Hollywood Reporter, Connery told Playboy magazine: “Bond came on the scene after the war, at a time when people were fed up with rationing, drab times and utility clothes and a predominately grey colour in life,” he said. “Along comes this character, who cuts right through all that like a very hot knife through butter, with his clothing and his cars and his wine and his women.”
For him, the “timing had a lot to do with it” (the success of the James Bond films).
Connery who made “Bond… James Bond” an iconic dialogue, went on to become the face of several spy and action-oriented films with his acting, charisma and his 6.2 feet frame. He broke barriers with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1964 film Marnie which talked about marital rape.
What followed was a slew of films that etched his name as one of the finest actors.
He retired from acting in 2006, when he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Hollywood Reporter listed 13 memorable movies by the actor, showcasing his skill and panache.
- Dr. No (1962)
The first film in the James Bond franchise, this story revolves around the spy ‘007’ who is sent to Jamaica in search of a fellow agent. What follows is travel, cars, encounters with women and tracking down the assailants. Although Dr. No is the first film in the franchise, it is not the first novel by Ian Fleming. Casino Royale was the first book in the series.
2. Marnie (1964)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the film is a psychological thriller and as Hitchcock put it, “it is more than a sex mystery”. Starring as husband and wife, Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren take on their respective characters with ambiguity. This is especially true in Connery’s case as he both attempts to help his wife with her psychological issues and also ends up sexually abusing her when she refuses his advances.
3. The Hill (1965)
Directed by Sidney Lumet, this film is a British-American war drama. It is about five prisoners who are new to a military prison camp and struggle for survival in the face of brutal punishment. The film had won the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1965.
4. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
Based on Agatha Christie’s novel by the same name, the film revolves around detective Hercule Poirot who is asked to investigate the murder of an American businessman on the the Orient Express. Connery plays the characters of one of the passengers aboard, Colonel Arbuthnot.
5. A Bridge Too Far (1971)
Based on the 1974 book by the same name and directed by Richard Attenborough, it is based on the events of the Second World War’s failed Operation Market Garden, or the attempt of Allies to break the German lines in Netherlands.
6. The Name of the Rose (1986)
Based on Umberto Eco’s book by the same same, the film looks into the aftermath to a death in Benedictine Abbey. In this Italian-German-French historical drama, Connery plays the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville who is falsely accused and must prove his innocence.
7. The Untouchables (1987)
Directed by Brian De Palma, this was an American crime film which also featured Robert De Niro, who played the lead role of American gangster Al Capone. Connery played the role of Jimmy Malone, right hand to Al Capone and takes up the responsibility to train second-in-command, Ness. Connery won the Academy Award for the best actor in supporting role in 1988. The actor had won the Academy Award in the best actor category for his role in The Untouchables.
8. The Man Who Would be King (1988)
The film is based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel by the same name and revolves around two ex-soldiers living in British India, played by Connery and Michael Caine. The film is an escapist entertainer, where the two soldiers, bored of their lives, plan to move elsewhere. The film got four Academy Award nominations.
9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Connery plays the role of Henry Jones Senior, father of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). The action-adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg had won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects and Editing.
10. The Hunt for Red October (1989)
The movie is a submarine spy-thriller film set in November 1984. Connery stars in the film as Marko Ramius alongside Alec Baldwin and Scott Glenn. The film was nominated for three Oscars, winning for best effects.
11. The Rock (1996)
The action thriller film, which received the Academy Award for best sound mixing, saw Connery feature as prisoner Captain John Patrick Mason who escaped from Alcatraz three decades earlier.
12. The Avengers (1998)
Connery plays the role of an antagonist Sir August de Wynter who conspires to destroy the world through a weather-changing time machine. The spy action film is the adaptation of a British television series by the same name.
13. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
In an alternate Victorian age world, a group of contemporary famous, science fiction and adventure characters team up on a secret mission. Connery plays Allan Quatermain who leads the group.