From his rise to fame as one of the coolest kats in cinema history as James Bond, mentoring his son Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade, to other memorable roles in films like the Hunt for Red October, Sean Connery will go down as one of the most beloved leading men in cinema of the 20th century.
Here’s a brief look at his humble beginnings and the legacy he’ll leave behind.
In the Beginning
Believe it or not, in the beginning of his life, Sean Connery came from modest means. He was born Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930 to Joseph Connery, a factory worker and Euphamia Maclean Connery, a house cleaner in Edinburgh, Scotland. As he was born in the time of the Great Depression, and only knew hardship in his younger years.
A year after the arrival of his brother Neil (born 1938), Connery started working on a milk truck to help support his family through the tough times.
At the age of 13, he quit school and begun to work full time. When he turned 16 years old, he enlisted in the British Royal Navy where he served his time on the HMS Formidable. However, three years after he enlisted, he had medical issues involving an ulcer that forced him to leave the Navy.
In his early twenties, Connery worked at many different odd jobs to make ends meet such as a model for an art school, a coffin polisher, a bricklayer, and a lifeguard. He also performed on stage for the first time at the age of 21, in the chorus for the musical South Pacific in 1951.
In the Movies
In 1955, Connery landed his first part in a film. It was an uncredited part in Lilacs in the Spring. Connery spent the next few years receiving small parts here and there in movies, including an uncredited role as a Titanic deckhand in 1958′s movie A Night to Remember.
In 1959, he was offered two major parts at the same time and had to choose between a British spy in Dr. No or the king of the apes in Tarzan. Thus, the movie’s first James Bond was born. From the release of Dr. No in 1962 to Never Say Never Again in 1983, Connery played the leading role in seven James Bond films.
For over two decades, we watched the debonair Connery as James Bond fight the bad guys, operate awesome gadgets, sleep with a lot of beautiful women, and escape from more trouble than most of us have ever been in. In his long acting career that only ended in 2006, Sean Connery has been in a total of 75 films.
As you can imagine, Connery was as much of a ladies’ man off screen as he was on the set as he has dated actresses such as Lana Turner, Sue Lloyd, Shelley Winters, and married actress Diane Cilento in 1962. He also reportedly had an affair with Raquel Welch in 1966.
Not only was he a ladies’ man, but his tough guy image wasn’t a façade it was the real deal. In 1953, he came in third place in the Mr. Universe competition. Even more impressive and daring than that, Connery successfully handled a dangerous run-in in 1958.
During the filming of the movie Another Time, Another Place, Connery was said to be having an affair with his co-star, Lana Turner. Turner’s mobster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato burst onto the set and held a gun at Connery. Connery managed not only to get the gun away from the mobster, but he beat him up and threw him off of the movie set. To go along with the tough guy persona, Connery does have two tattoos, but they still hold true to his ideology of today. One says “Mum and Dad” and the other says “Scotland Forever”.
Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento from December 1962 to September 1973. He’s currently married to Micheline Roquebrune and has been since March 1975. He has a son with his first wife, Jason (born January 1963) and a grandson, Dashiell Quinn Connery (born June 1997).
In 1998, Sean Connery was reportedly denied knighthood due to his political views on Scottish independence. However, on July 5, 2000 Sean Connery was knighted Sir Thomas Sean Connery by Queen Elizabeth as he wore full Scottish garb to honor his heritage and beliefs.
Though Connery is said to be retired form acting, his legacy of phenomenal acting and charisma will carry us forever. Women will forever see Connery as one of the sexiest men ever and men will admire him for his class and tough guy persona. He has become a legend as the first James Bond and will be remembered for that and so much more for many years to come.
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