“There is nothing like a challenge
to bring out the best in man.”
We lost a movie legend this past weekend. To my generation, Sean Connery was the one and only James Bond. He set the standard for all Bonds to follow.
Over the last 58 years, Connery starred in 7 of the 26 Ian Fleming Bond movies. Not only did these movies introduce the World to James Bond, secret agent with a license to kill, but also introduced us to state-of-the-art technology and some iconic automobiles of its time.
Connery at age 31 had been acting less than 10 years when he was cast for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No. Actors such as Cary Grant, Richard Burton and even Rex Harrison were all considered for the part. Point of fact, Ian Fleming didn’t want Connery for his James Bond character. The author quickly changed his mind when he saw Connery on the screen and realized the magnetism and sexual chemistry Sean exhibited for the part.
His last Bond movie in 1983 was appropriately named by his wife, Never Say Never Again, because he had vowed never to play Bond again. He went on to make numerous successful movies including the 1998 movie, The Untouchables, which won him an Oscar for best supporting actor.
One of my favorite movies of Connery’s was the little known 1964 Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Marnie. This was my introduction to this charismatic actor.
His last movie was the 2003 film, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Then after receiving the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award on June 8, 2006, he confirmed his retirement from acting. He turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, declaring himself tired of acting and sick of the “idiots now making films in Hollywood”. However, in 2012 he briefly came out of retirement by voice acting the title character in the Scottish animated movie, Sir Billi the Vet.
Sean Connery embodied Hollywood but always hated the Hollywood lifestyle. He preferred a more private life with his second wife, Micheline Roqubrune. He spent his time playing golf at his homes in Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. He believed that to get anywhere in life you have to be anti-social, otherwise you’ll end up being devoured.
The latest new Bond movie, No Time To Die starring Daniel Craig is scheduled to be released next year. Connery was undoubtedly responsible for the success of this multi-million-dollar franchise and will be forever recognized by those unforgettable words, “The name’s Bond… James Bond”.