23.11.2020

ALEX FROM MONTREAL PERSONAL BLOG

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From bricklayer to 007: Sean Connery enjoyed 50 year film career but he will undoubtedly be remembered as the first – and some say definitive – James Bond

A poignant last photo of James Bond legend Sir Sean Connery, who has died in his sleep at the age of 90, showed him posing with his son Jason.

The photo showed the Oscar-winning actor giving a half-smile and raising his finger in the air as he sat between his son and his son’s partner Fiona Upton on his 89th birthday last year. 

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stefan. 

A statement from Sir Sean’s publicist said: ‘His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane, have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family.

‘There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended.’

Jason told the BBC: ‘We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

‘A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.’

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for being the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971. 

He was today hailed as ‘the world’s greatest Scot and last of the real Hollywood stars’ as the acting community and beyond rallied to remember him. 

Through the official James Bond Twitter page, the incumbent 007 Craig said: ‘Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.

‘He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.’One of the last pictures of Sir Sean shows him with his son Jason, who said today: 'We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time'

One of the last pictures of Sir Sean shows him with his son Jason, who said today: ‘We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time’Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stefan. Pictured: Connery as Bond in Dr No

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stefan. Pictured: Connery as Bond in Dr No

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, died today

Sir Sean Connery, who is best known for playing James Bond, has died, it was announced todayTributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline (pictured in New York four years ago)

Tributes have been pouring in for the Oscar-winning actor who passed away in the Bahamas and leaves behind his wife Micheline (pictured in New York four years ago)Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean, whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No (pictured with Ursula Andress), From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his part in Dr No (pictured with Ursula Andress), From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice.

Icon: The No Time To Die star sharing a statement via the franchise's official Twitter page that read: 'Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style'

Icon: The No Time To Die star sharing a statement via the franchise’s official Twitter page that read: ‘Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style’

Sir Sean frequently tops polls as the best Bond to have played the role following his parts in seven 007 films.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli paid tribute to Sir Sean in a statement: ‘We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Connery.

‘He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words – ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ – he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.

‘He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.’

Sir Sean was knighted by the Queen in 2000 and celebrated his 90th birthday in August. His five-decade career saw him win an Oscar, two Baftas and three Golden Globes.

His other notable films include Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Highlander and The Hunt For Red October. 

A fierce nationalist, he banged the drum for Scottish Independence ahead of the 2014 referendum and befriended key SNP figures.

Former First Minister Alex Salmond today described his friend Sir Sean as ‘the world’s greatest Scot, the last of the real Hollywood stars, the definitive Bond.’ 

His successor Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘I was heartbroken to learn this morning of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.

‘Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent and sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors.

‘Sean will be remembered best as James Bond – the classic 007 – but his roles were many and varied. He was a global legend but, first and foremost, a patriotic and proud Scot – his towering presence at the opening of the Scottish Parliament and in 1999 showed his love for the country of his birth.’

 Bafta awards 1988

After Bond catapulted him to acting superstadom he went on to forge a glittering career and won an Oscar in 1988 (left) for his part playing an Irish policeman in The Untouchables and a Bafta (right)Sir Sean (pictured in 1963) whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971

Sir Sean (pictured in 1963) whose movie career spans five decades, is best known for the first to portray the role of British fictional spy 007 who he played between 1962–1971 Sir Sean in the first James Bond film Dr No in 1962, during a scene with Zena Marshall

Sir Sean in the first James Bond film Dr No in 1962, during a scene with Zena Marshall

Born Thomas Sean Connery in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge area on August 25 1930, the actor left school at an early age and took his first job as a milkman.

At 16 he enlisted in the Royal Navy but was discharged three years later on medical grounds after suffering a stomach ulcer.

His first major step into acting came in 1957 when he secured a role in the British gangster film No Road Back. 

Elizabeth Hurley took to her social media to share a snap of Connery during his Bond heyday, as he read a book on a yacht while dressed in a pair of shorts, and she gushed: ‘RIP the glorious Sean Connery.’ 

Hugh Jackman tweeted: I grew up idolizing Connery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace.’ 

Star Trek actor George Takei said of the Oscar-winning actor: ‘Sean Connery was a movie legend, even far into his golden years. Our strongest Bonds were formed by him, and he was Untouchable. He passed today at age 90, a suave hero to the end.’

While Sam Neill, who starred with Connery in The Hunt For Red October, reminisced of their time together: ‘Every day on set with #SeanConnery was an object lesson in how to act on screen. But all that charisma and power- that was utterly unique to Sean . RIP that great man, that great actor.’

Elton John shared a picture of him and his husband David Furnish posing with Connery and his wife Micheline Roquebrune, and wrote: ‘A true screen legend.’

Director Edgar Wright also paid tribute to Connery, sharing a lengthy tribute which began: ‘It says something for the extraordinary charisma of this Edinburgh lad to have created the most iconic character in film & then, rather than be typecast by it, become equally famous for just being Sean Connery. A real screen legend; oft imitated (by all!) but never equalled. 

‘Though all of his Bond instalments are fun and two are among my favs of the series (From Russia With Love & Goldfinger), here are some non Bond Connery films I dearly love; Hell Drivers (a supporting role, but a badass flick), The Frightened City (clearly a dry run for Bond) 

‘Hitchcock’s Marnie, Sidney Lumet’s The Hill, The Anderson Tapes & The Offence, the bonkers Zardoz, John Huston’s rollicking The Man Who Would Be King, Richard Lester’s elegiac Robin & Marian, his cameo in Time Bandits, but let’s not forget of course his amazing last act… ‘From charming immortal Ramirez to Henry Jones Sr, from being the rock in the centre of the best Michael Bay film to his incredible Oscar winning turn as Malone in The Untouchables, Sean Connery had a hell of a run. Have a vodka martini & a dram of whiskey for him tonight.’   From bricklayer to 007: Sean Connery enjoyed 50 year film career but he will undoubtedly be remembered as the first – and some say definitive – James Bond

Born Thomas Sean Connery in Edinburgh’s Fountainbridge area on August 25 1930, the actor left school at an early age and took his first job as a milkman. At 16 he enlisted in the Royal Navy but was discharged three years later on medical grounds after suffering a stomach ulcer. His first major step into acting came in 1957 when he secured a role in the British gangster film No Road Back. He has two tattoos from this time – one reading ‘Mum and Dad’ and another ‘Scotland Forever’. The keen bodybuilder then undertook a variety of jobs, including a stint as a bricklayer, a lifeguard and an artist’s model for the Edinburgh College of Art. Under the name Thom Connery he was placed third in the tall man’s division (he was 6ft 2in) of the 1950 Mr Universe contest. The stage came calling when a friend suggested he try out for a production of South Pacific. He got a part in the sailors’ chorus and so began his acting career. He was also a gifted footballer. While touring with the musical, he was offered a contract by former Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby, who saw him play in a friendly against a local side. His first major acting credit came in 1957 British gangster film No Road Back. It was author Ian Fleming’s suave and sophisticated secret service agent that launched Sir Sean to stardom. Fleming was initially resistant to the idea of Sir Sean playing his character. He thought the Scot was an ‘overgrown stuntman’ who was not refined enough for the role.

He was later so impressed with his performance that he created a Scottish ancestry for the character in his subsequent books. 

Claudine Auger standing with Sean Connery in the water in a scene from the film 'Thunderball', 1965

Claudine Auger standing with Sean Connery in the water in a scene from the film ‘Thunderball’, 1965

Sean Connery accompanies his wife Micheline Roquebrune  to Athinais gallery to open an exhibition of her paintings in Athens, Greece, 2001

Sean Connery accompanies his wife Micheline Roquebrune  to Athinais gallery to open an exhibition of her paintings in Athens, Greece, 2001

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford's whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford’s whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise

Sean Connery poses as James Bond next to his Aston Martin DB5 in a scene from the United Artists film 'Goldfinger' in 1964

Sean Connery poses as James Bond next to his Aston Martin DB5 in a scene from the United Artists film ‘Goldfinger’ in 1964

Sir Sean played Bond in seven films – Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

He quit the role after You Only Live Twice, frustrated by the repetitive plots, but was enticed back after his successor George Lazenby failed to make the grade.

Most of his subsequent successes were as part of ensemble casts, in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, Murder On The Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far.

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor. Future Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington were also nominated in the category that year.

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford’s whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise.

Sir Sean could by now command massive fees and gained a reputation as a ruthless contract negotiator. He hated the idea of being manipulated by the film industry and was regularly embroiled in lawsuits.

In 1989 the US magazine People voted him Sexiest Man Alive, to which the 59-year-old replied: ‘Well, there aren’t many sexy dead men, are there?’

The 1990s brought performances in The Hunt For Red October (1990), Dragonheart (1996) and Entrapment, the 1999 love story/thriller with Catherine Zeta-Jones, which Sir Sean also produced.

By now he was firmly regarded as an elder statesman of the film industry and in 2000 was knighted by the Queen – an honour said to have been delayed by his vocal support for the Scottish National Party (SNP).In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gangbusting Irish policeman winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actorSir Sean, once voted the 'greatest living Scot', received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting

Sir Sean, once voted the ‘greatest living Scot’, received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting

Sir Sean, once voted the ‘greatest living Scot’, received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting.

Throughout his career he remained relatively guarded about his private life but was forced to deny claims of domestic abuse made by his first wife, the Australian actress Diane Cilento, before her death in 2011.

He was plagued by criticism of remarks he allegedly made in a Vanity Fair interview in 1993 when he suggested there were women who ‘want a smack’.

Sir Sean was reported as saying: ‘There are women who take it to the wire. That’s what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation.’

He and Cilento were married for 11 years and had one son, the actor Jason Connery.

Sir Sean is succeed by Jason and his second wife, French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975 and who regularly accompanied him on the red carpet.

In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University for the achievements throughout his career.

He appeared relaxed and in good health during his last public appearance, when he turned out to support fellow Scotsman Andy Murray at the US Open in September 2012.

The tennis star was shocked when Sir Sean and Sir Alex Ferguson gatecrashed a post-match press conference in New York and posed for pictures with him and his mother Judy.

As one of the most high-profile supporters of Scottish independence, many expected Sir Sean to make an appearance on the campaign trail in the run-up to the historic vote on September 18 2014.

His words were used to galvanise support at the launch of the Yes campaign two years previously, when the star declared in a message: ‘The people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future.’ 

Sir Sean Connery’s career in pictures: From the 1950s to the noughties, the 007 icon’s other notable roles in the likes of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Highlander and Hunt for Red October

 By Katie Weston for MailOnline

After catapulting to fame as the first ever James Bond, Sir Sean Connery had a glamorous and varied Hollywood career spanning 50 years which secured him prestigious awards including an Oscar and two Baftas.

After his first major appearance in 1957 British gangster film No Road Back, the former milkman became a Hollywood star as the first James Bond in 1962 film Dr No.

Sir Sean played Bond in seven films – Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

In August 2020 he was voted the best ever Bond, seeing off competition from stars including Daniel Craig, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan in the poll for RadioTimes.com.

Most of his subsequent successes were as part of ensemble casts, in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, Murder On The Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far.

In the 1980s a slipping career was revived with Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987), with his role as a tough gang-busting Irish policeman who mentors Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness winning him an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

In 1988 he won his first British Academy Film Awards (Bafta) for his role as a Franciscan friar in European mystery drama The Name of The Rose, and a decade later was recognised as one of the silver screen greats by a Bafta Fellowship Award for lifetime achievement.

Sir Sean also starred as the father of the leading role in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade in 1989, and received a Bafta nomination for best supporting actor.

The 1990s brought performances in The Hunt For Red October (1990), Dragonheart (1996) and Entrapment, where he played the villain as art thief in 1999 love story/thriller with Catherine Zeta-Jones, which Sir Sean also produced.

In 2006, Sir Sean received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, when he confirmed his retirement from acting.

Following the 007 icon’s death at the age of 90, below is a look back at his highlights on screen from the 1950s to the noughties.  

1957: Margaret Rawlings and Sean Connery in No Road Back, a British crime film that was directed by Montgomery Tully

1957: Margaret Rawlings and Sean Connery in No Road Back, a British crime film that was directed by Montgomery Tully

1962: Eunice Gayson and Sean Connery as the first James Bond in a scene from the film Dr No, directed by Terence Young

1962: Eunice Gayson and Sean Connery as the first James Bond in a scene from the film Dr No, directed by Terence Young

1963: Connery in the film From Russia with Love, the second in the James Bond Series produced by Eon Productions

1963: Connery in the film From Russia with Love, the second in the James Bond Series produced by Eon Productions

1964: Connery starring in Goldfinger, the third installment in the James Bond series and based on the 1959 novel

1964: Connery starring in Goldfinger, the third installment in the James Bond series and based on the 1959 novelSean Connery driving an Aston Martin in the Goldfinger Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Movie Museum in Britain

Sean Connery driving an Aston Martin in the Goldfinger Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Movie Museum in Britain

1964: Connery as Mark Rutland and Tippi Hedren as Marnie Edgar in the film Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1964: Connery as Mark Rutland and Tippi Hedren as Marnie Edgar in the film Marnie, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

1967: Mie Hama and Connery pictured in You Only Live Twice, the fifth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions

1967: Mie Hama and Connery pictured in You Only Live Twice, the fifth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions

1971: Connery starring as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, the seventh film in the series and directed by Guy Hamilton

1971: Connery starring as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever, the seventh film in the series and directed by Guy Hamilton

1974: Connery and Vanessa Redgrave starring in the film Murder on the Orient Express, based on an Agatha Christie novel

1974: Connery and Vanessa Redgrave starring in the film Murder on the Orient Express, based on an Agatha Christie novel

1975: Michael Caine and Connery seen being overwhelmed by water in a scene from the film The Man Who Would Be King

1975: Michael Caine and Connery seen being overwhelmed by water in a scene from the film The Man Who Would Be King

1977: Connery as Major General Roy Urquhart in the film A Bridge Too Far, directed by Richard Attenborough

1983: Connery is seen playing the fictional spy James Bond during the making of the 1983 film Never Say Never Again

1983: Connery is seen playing the fictional spy James Bond during the making of the 1983 film Never Say Never Again

1986: A scene from the film The Name of the Rose, in which Connery took on the role of William of Baskerville

1986: A scene from the film The Name of the Rose, in which Connery took on the role of William of Baskerville

1986: A scene from the film Highlander, showing Connery as Juan Ramirez, an Egyptian swordsman who is immortal 

1987: Charles Martin Smith, Kevin Costner, Connery and Andy Garcia in the American crime film The Untouchables

1987: Charles Martin Smith, Kevin Costner, Connery and Andy Garcia in the American crime film The Untouchables

1989: Harrison Ford and Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which was directed by Steven Spielberg

1989: Harrison Ford and Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which was directed by Steven Spielberg

1990: Connery as Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October, an American submarine spy-thriller film

1990: Connery as Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October, an American submarine spy-thriller film1996: Connery pictured with Nicolas Cage in The Rock, an American action thriller film directed by Michael Bay

1996: Connery pictured with Nicolas Cage in The Rock, an American action thriller film directed by Michael Bay

1999: Connery pictured as Robert MacDougal with Catherine Zeta Jones as Virginia Baker in a scene from the film Entrapment

1999: Connery pictured as Robert MacDougal with Catherine Zeta Jones as Virginia Baker in a scene from the film Entrapment

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