Sean Connery (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Sir Thomas Sean Connery KBE (born 25 August 1930) is a Scottish actor and producer who has won an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards (one of them being a BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award) and three Golden Globes (including the Cecil B. DeMille Award and a Henrietta Award).
Connery is best known for portraying the character James Bond, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983 (six Eon Productions films and the non-canonical Thunderball remake, Never Say Never Again). In 1988, Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Untouchables. His film career also includes such films as Marnie, The Name of the Rose, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Murder on the Orient Express, Dragonheart, and The Rock.
He was knighted in July 2000. Connery has been polled as "The Greatest Living Scot" and "Scotland's Greatest Living National Treasure". In 1989, he was proclaimed "Sexiest Man Alive" by People magazine and in 1999, at age 69, he was voted "Sexiest Man of the Century".
Thomas Sean Connery, named Thomas after his grandfather, was born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother, Euphemia McBain "Effie" (née McLean), was a cleaning woman, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and lorry driver. His paternal grandfather's parents emigrated to Scotland from Ireland in the mid-19th century. The remainder of his family was of Scottish descent, and his maternal great-grandparents were native Scottish Gaelic speakers from Fife (unusually, for a speaker of the language) and Uig on the Isle of Skye. His father was a Roman Catholic, and his mother was a Protestant. He has a younger brother, Neil (b. 1938). Connery claims he was called Sean, his middle name, long before becoming an actor, explaining that when he was young he had an Irish friend named Séamus and that those who knew them both had decided to call Connery by his middle name whenever both were present. He was generally referred to in his youth as "Tommy". Although he was small in primary school, he grew rapidly around the age of 12, reaching his full adult height of 6 ft 2 inches (188 cm) at 18. He was known during his teen years as "Big Tam", and has claimed to have lost his virginity to an adult woman in an ATS uniform at the age of 14.
Connery's first job was as a milkman in Edinburgh with St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society. He then joined the Royal Navy during which time he got two tattoos, of which his official website says "unlike many tattoos, his were not frivolous"his tattoos reflect two of his lifelong commitments: his family and Scotland. ...One ...reads "Mum and Dad," and the other "Scotland Forever."
Connery was later discharged from the navy on medical grounds because of a duodenal ulcer, a condition that affected most of the males in previous generations of his family. Afterwards, he returned to the co-op, then worked as, among other things, a lorry driver, a lifeguard at Portobello swimming baths, a labourer, an artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art, after a suggestion by former Mr. Scotland, Archie Brennan. and a coffin polisher. The modelling earned him 15 shillings an hour, Student artist Richard Demarco who painted several notable early pictures of Connery described him as "very straight, slightly shy, too, too beautiful for words, a virtual Adonis."
Connery began bodybuilding at the age of 18 and from 1951 time trained heavily with Ellington, a former gym instructor in the British army. While his official website claims he was third in the 1950 Mr. Universe contest, most sources place him in the 1953 competition, either third in the Junior class or failing to place in the Tall Man classification. One of the other competitors mentioned that auditions were being held for a production of South Pacific; and Connery landed a small part. While in Edinburgh, Connery was targeted by the notorious Valdor gang, one of the most ruthless gangs in the city. He was first approached by them in a billiard hall on Lothian Street where he prevented them from stealing from his jacket and was later followed by six gang members to a 15 ft high balcony at the Palais. There Connery launched an attack single-handedly against the gang members, grabbing one by the throat and another by a biceps and cracked their heads together. From then on he was treated with great respect by the gang and gained a reputation as a "hard man".
Connery was a keen footballer, having played for Bonnyrigg Rose in his younger days. He was offered a trial with East Fife. While on tour with South Pacific, Connery played in a football match against a local team that Matt Busby, manager of Manchester United, happened to be scouting. According to reports, Busby was impressed with his physical prowess and offered Connery a contract worth £25 a week immediately after the game. Connery admits that he was tempted to accept, but he recalls, "I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves."
Looking to pick up some extra money, Connery helped out backstage at the King's Theatre in late 1951. He became interested in the proceedings, and a career was launched.
In 1957, Connery played Spike, a minor gangster with a speech impediment in Montgomery Tully's No Road Back alongside Skip Homeier, Paul Carpenter, Patricia Dainton and Norman Wooland. He then played a rogue lorry driver Johnny Yates in Cy Endfield's Hell Drivers (1957) alongside Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins and Patrick McGoohan. Later in 1957 Connery appeared in Terence Young's poorly received MGM action picture Action of the Tiger opposite Van Johnson, Martine Carol, Herbert Lom and Gustavo Rojo; the film was shot on location in southern Spain. He also had a minor role in Gerald Thomas's thriller Time Lock (1957) as a welder, appearing alongside Robert Beatty, Lee Patterson, Betty McDowall and Vincent Winter, which commenced filming on 1 December 1956 at Beaconsfield Studios.
In 1958 he had a major role in the melodrama Another Time, Another Place (1958) as a British reporter named Mark Trevor, caught in a love affair opposite Lana Turner and Barry Sullivan. During filming, star Lana Turner's possessive gangster boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, who was visiting from Los Angeles, believed she was having an affair with Connery. He stormed onto the set and pointed a gun at Connery, only to have Connery disarm him and knock him flat on his back. Stompanato was banned from the set. Connery later recounted that he had to lie low for a while after receiving threats from men linked to Stompanato's boss, Mickey Cohen.
In 1959, Connery landed a leading role in Robert Stevenson's Walt Disney Productions film Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959) alongside Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, and Jimmy O'Dea. The film is a tale about a wily Irishman and his battle of wits with leprechauns. Upon the film's initial release, A. H. Weiler of the New York Times praised the cast (save Connery whom he described as "merely tall, dark, and handsome") and thought the film an "overpoweringly charming concoction of standard Gaelic tall stories, fantasy and romance.". In his book The Disney Films, film critic and historian Leonard Maltin stated that, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People is not only one of Disney's best films, but is certainly one of the best fantasies ever put on film."
He also had a prominent television role in Rudolph Cartier's 1961 production of Anna Karenina for BBC Television, in which he co-starred with Claire Bloom.
James Bond: 1962-71, 1983
Connery's breakthrough came in the role of secret agent James Bond. He was reluctant to commit to a film series, but understood that if the films succeeded his career would greatly benefit. He played the character in the first five Bond films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967) - then appeared again as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983). All seven films were commercially successful.
Sean Connery's selection as James Bond owed a lot to Dana Broccoli, wife of Cubby Broccoli, who is reputed to have been instrumental in persuading Cubby that Sean Connery was the right man. James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, originally doubted Connery's casting, saying, "He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks" and "I'm looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man," adding that Connery (muscular, 6' 2", and a Scot) was unrefined. Fleming's girlfriend told him Connery had the requisite sexual charisma. Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr. No première; he was so impressed, he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for the literary James Bond in the later novels.
Connery's portrayal of Bond owes much to stylistic tutelage from director Terence Young, polishing the actor while using his physical grace and presence for the action. Robert Cotton wrote in one Connery biography that Lois Maxwell (the first Miss Moneypenny) noticed, "Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat." Cotton wrote, "Some cast members remarked that Connery was simply doing a Terence Young impression, but Young and Connery knew they were on the right track." The tutoring was successful; Connery received thousands of fan letters a week, and the actor became one of the great male sex symbols of film.
In 2005, From Russia with Love was adapted by Electronic Arts into a video game, titled James Bond 007: From Russia with Love, which featured all-new voice work by Connery as well as his likeness, and those of several of the film's supporting cast.
Although Bond had made him a star, Connery eventually tired of the role and the pressure the franchise put on him, saying that he was "fed up to here with the whole Bond bit". While making the Bond films, Connery also starred in other acclaimed films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Apart from The Man Who Would Be King and The Wind and the Lion, both released in 1975, most of Connery's successes in the next decade were as part of ensemble casts in films such as Murder on the Orient Express (1974) with Vanessa Redgrave and John Gielgud and A Bridge Too Far (1977) co-starring Dirk Bogarde and Laurence Olivier.
In 1981, Connery appeared in the film Time Bandits as Agamemnon. The casting choice derives from a joke Michael Palin included in the script, in which he describes the character removing his mask as being "Sean Connery " or someone of equal but cheaper stature". When shown the script, Connery was happy to play the supporting role.
After his experience with Never Say Never Again in 1983 and the following court case, Connery became unhappy with the major studios and for two years did not make any films. Following the successful European production The Name of the Rose (1986), for which he won a BAFTA award, Connery's interest in more commercial material was revived. That same year, a supporting role in Highlander showcased his ability to play older mentors to younger leads, which would become a recurring role in many of his later films. The following year, his acclaimed performance as a hard-nosed Irish-American cop in The Untouchables (1987) earned him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, his sole nomination throughout his career. His subsequent box-office hits included Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), in which he played Henry Jones Sr., the title character's father, The Hunt for Red October (1990) (where he was reportedly called in at two weeks' notice), The Russia House (1990), The Rock (1996), and Entrapment (1999). In 1996, he voiced the role of Draco the dragon in the film Dragonheart. In 1998, Sean Connery received a BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.
In recent years, Connery's films have included several box office and critical disappointments such as First Knight (1995), The Avengers (1998), and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), but he also received positive reviews, including his performance in Finding Forrester (2000). He also later received a Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema.
Connery stated in interviews for the film (included on the DVD release) that he was offered a role in The Lord of the Rings series, declining it due to "not understanding the script." CNN reported that the actor was offered up to 15% of the worldwide box office receipts to play Gandalf, which had he accepted, could have earned him as much as $400 million for the trilogy. After the series went on to become a huge hit, Connery decided to accept the lead role in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, despite not "understanding" it either. In July 2005, it was reported that he had decided to retire from film-making, following disillusionment with the "idiots now making films in Hollywood" and the turmoil making the 2003 film.
In September 2004, media reports indicated that Connery intended to retire after pulling out of Josiah's Canon, which was set for a 2005 release. In a December 2004 interview with The Scotsman newspaper from his home in the Bahamas, Connery explained he had taken a break from acting to concentrate on writing his autobiography. However Connery pulled out of writing the work and refunded the advance paid him by the publisher Harper Collins.
At the Tartan Day celebrations in New York in March 2006, Connery again confirmed his retirement from acting, and stated that he was writing a history book. On 25 August 2008, his 78th birthday, Connery unveiled his book Being a Scot, co-written with Murray Grigor.
He was planning to star in an $80 million movie about Saladin and the Crusades that would be filmed in Jordan before the producer Moustapha Akkad was killed in the 2005 Amman bombings. When Connery received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award on 8 June 2006, he again confirmed his retirement from acting. On 7 June 2007, he denied rumours that he would appear in the fourth Indiana Jones film, stating that "retirement is just too much damned fun".
Connery returned to voice acting, playing the title character in the animated short Sir Billi the Vet, and in 2005 he recorded voiceovers for a new video game version of his Bond film From Russia with Love. In an interview on the game disc, Connery stated that he was very happy that the producers of the game (EA Games) had approached him to voice Bond and that he hoped to do another one in the near future. In 2010, he reprised his role as the title character in the animated film Sir Billi, serving also as executive producer.
In April 2011, his spokesman confirmed that Connery has retired from making public appearances.
In the film Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the character Sentinel Prime's features were mostly based on Connery. When Leonard Nimoy was to voice the role, however, the effects were altered to incorporate Nimoy's acting as well.
Director Sam Mendes confirmed that Connery was considered being cast in the Kincaide role taken by Albert Finney in Skyfall but stated the idea was shelved as being distracting to the film.
Connery dated a woman named Julie Hamilton in the 1950s; given his rugged appearance and rough charm she initially thought he was a most appalling person and was not attracted to him until she saw him in a kilt. He also shared a mutual attraction with black jazz singer Maxine Daniels, whom he met at the Empire Theatre. He made a pass at her, but she informed him that she was already happily married with a baby daughter. Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento from 1962 to 1973. They had a son, actor Jason Connery. Connery has been married to Moroccan-French painter Micheline Roquebrune (born 1929) since 1975.
Connery, a keen golfer, owned the Domaine de Terre Blanche in the South of France for twenty years (from 1979) where he planned to build his dream golf course on the of land, but the dream was not realised until he sold it to German billionaire Dietmar Hopp in 1999. Connery has also always had an interest in football. Connery supported Celtic in the 1960s, but began supporting their Old Firm rivals Rangers in the 1990s. Commenting on his change of allegiance, Connery stated "I've always supported the team I thought played the best soccer ... religious affiliations in sport mean nothing to me." He has been awarded the rank of Shodan (1st dan) in Kyokushin karate.
Connery was knighted in July 2000. He had been nominated for a knighthood in 1997 and 1998, but these nominations were vetoed by Donald Dewar due to Connery's political views.
Sean Connery has a villa in Kranidi, Greece. His neighbour is the Dutch crown-prince with whom he shares a helicopter platform.
Scottish National Party
Connery is a member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), a centre-left political party campaigning for Scottish independence, and has supported the party financially and through personal appearances. His funding of the SNP ceased in 2001, when the UK Parliament passed legislation that prohibited overseas funding of political activities in the UK. In 2008, Connery said in the Scottish Sunday Express he believed that Scotland will become an independent country within his lifetime and praised the work of the SNP in a minority government after their victory in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. Connery has been criticised for commenting on UK politics while living as a tax exile in the Bahamas, although he released documents in 2003 showing that he had paid £3.7 million in UK taxes between 1997/98 and 2002/03. Connery swore never to return to live in Scotland unless it becomes an independent state,. In 2010 he made an appearance at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
In 1993, news that Connery was undergoing radiation treatment for an undisclosed throat ailment sparked media reports that the actor was suffering from throat cancer following years of heavy smoking, and he was falsely declared dead by the Japanese and South African news agencies. Connery immediately appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to deny all of this. In a February 1995 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said that the radiation treatment was to remove nodules from his vocal cords. (His father, a heavy smoker, died from throat cancer in 1972.) In 2003, he had surgery to remove cataracts from both eyes. On 12 March 2006, he announced he was recovering from surgery in January to remove a kidney tumour. In 2008, he chipped a bone in his shoulder after falling while playing golf. In October 2009, he told Wine Spectator magazine that he has been diagnosed with a heart condition.
Connery has been polled as "The Greatest Living Scot".
A bronze bust sculpture of Connery was placed in the capital city of Estonia.
Connery shared a Henrietta Award with Charles Bronson for "World Film Favorite - Male" in 1972.