First James Bond
“More than anything else, I’d like to be an old man with a good face, like Hitchcock or Picasso.” Sean Connery
Scottish actor Sean Connery gained wide recognition for his portrayal of British agent James Bond (Agent 007), in earlier James Bond 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 later won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for playing veteran Chicago cop Jimmy Malone in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987). An indisputable movie star, Connery had acted in such films as Zardoz (1974), The Wind and the Lion (1975), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Hunt for Red October (1990), the Highlander films (1986 and 1991, as Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez), The Rock (1996), Playing by Heart (1998), Entrapment (1999), Finding Forrester (2000) and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).
A former bodybuilder, the 6' 2'' tall, hunky actor was voted People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1989. He was also one of Empire magazine’s “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” (1995), Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" (October 1997), Sky TV’s “Best British Actor of All Time” (Feb 2005), Entertainment Weekly’s “Greatest Movie Star of All Time” and Premiere Magazine’s “Greatest Movie Star of All Time.” Connery received the 22nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime contribution to arts and culture in 1999 and was awarded Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000.
Seamus and Shawn
Childhood and Family:
"I was called Sean long before I was an actor. I had an Irish buddy when I was twelve named Seamus -- 'pronounced Sha-mus.’ so they nicknamed us Seamus and Shawn and it stuck." Sean Connery
In a middle-class Scottish family, Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His parents are Joseph Connery (Irish Catholic; worked at a rubber factory) and Euphamia "Effie" Maclean (Protestant; was a charwoman). Sean has one younger brother, Neil Connery, a former actor (retired from acting and became a plasterer). Growing up during the Great Depression, young Sean worked as a milk deliverer (to the Fettes School in Edinburgh) and coffin polisher. He left school at age 13 and joined the Royal Navy at age 15. He also learned furniture polishing at a British Legion training school and later received an honorary degree from St Andrews University in 1988.
On December 6, 1962, Sean Connery married actress Diane Cilento and they had one son, Jason Joseph Connery (actor; born on January 11, 1963). However, Connery and Cilento later divorced on September 6, 1973. Two years later, Connery exchanged wedding vows with French painter Micheline Roquebrune in 1975 and they are still married today. Connery also has one grandson, Dashiell Quinn Connery, born in June 1997.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
"I'm an actor - it's not brain surgery. If I do my job right, people won't ask for their money back." Sean Connery
Discharged from the Navy after three years due to stomach ulcers, Sean Connery worked as a nude model for Edinburgh art students and swimsuit ads. He undertook bodybuilding and competed in Mr. Universe, in which he placed third. As acting beckoned, Connery joined the theater musical South Pacific in 1951. After acting in Repertory Theater, he turned to the big screen as an extra in Herbert Wilcox's adaptation of Robert Nesbitt's play, Lilacs in the Spring (1955, a.k.a. Let's Make Up, starring Errol Flynn and Anna Neagle). He also received positive reviews for his lead performance in the BBC TV remake of Rod Serling's Requiem for a Heavyweight.
Connery got his first film-acting role in Montgomery Tully's film inspired by Falkland L. Cary's play, No Road Back, and continued to play supporting roles in Hell Drivers, Action of the Tiger and Time Lock (all in 1957). A more significant role eventually arrived as a married BBC war correspondent who has affair with a female American journalist (played by Lana Turner), in Lewis Allen's film version of Lenore J. Coffee's novel, the British-made film, Another Time, Another Place (1958), although he was killed off 15 minutes into the picture. Connery also made his first America film, the Walt Disney production, Robert Stevenson-directed Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959, starring Albert Sharpe).
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Connery acted both on the small and big screen. He played roles in The Square Ring (TV), Tarzan's Greatest Adventure, The Crucible (TV), Colombe (TV), "An Age of Kings" (miniseries), Without the Grail (TV), On the Fiddle, The Frightened City, "Adventure Story" (TV series), Macbeth (TV), Anna Karenina (TV) and The Longest Day. His breakthrough knocked in 1962, when director Terence Young handed him the coveted role of sophisticated British secret agent and womanizer James Bond (Agent 007), in the first James Bond film, Dr. No (based on Ian Fleming's novel), alongside Ursula Andress and Joseph Wiseman. His astonishing performance and charisma led him to reprise his role in the next James Bond films, From Russia with Love (1963, with Daniela Bianchi and Pedro Armendariz), Goldfinger (1964, with Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe and Shirley Eaton), Thunderball (1965, with Claudine Auger and Adolfo Celi), You Only Live Twice (1967, with Akiko Wakabayashi, Tetsuro Tamba and Mie Hama), Diamonds Are Forever (1971, with Jill St John, Charles Gray and Lana Wood) and Never Say Never Again (1983, with Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max von Sydow, Barbara Carrera and Kim Basinger).
"I care about Bond and what happens to him. You cannot be connected with a character for this long and not have an interest. All the Bond films had their good points." Sean Connery
Meanwhile, Connery made his directional debut with the documentary The Bowler and the Bonnet (1969) and formed Tantallon Productions in 1972 (for the making of the film The Offense, helmed by Sidney Lumet). He also acted in such films as Marnie (1964), Woman of Straw (1964), The Hill (1965), A Fine Madness (1966), Shalako (1968), The Molly Maguires (1970), Krasnaya palatka (1971), The Anderson Tapes (1971) and The Offence (1973). After starring as Zed, one of a carefully bred race of supervisors, in writer-director John Boorman's sci-fi Zardoz (1974), Connery was included in Sidney Lumet's all-star thriller film adopted from Agatha Christie's classic mystery novel, Murder on the Orient Express (1974, with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Jacqueline Bisset, John Gielgud, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave and Ingrid Bergman).
Connery spent the rest of the 1970s acting in Caspar Wrede's thriller Ransom (as a ruthless military police chief who rescued a hijacked plane and its passengers) and writer-director John Milius' adventure action The Wind and the Lion (1975, as Mulay Achmed Mohammed el-Raisuli the Magnificent). He also acted in John Huston's adventure The Man Who Would Be King (costarred with Michael Caine, playing two British soldiers in India who are mistaken for gods) and Richard Lester's romantic epic Robin and Marian (alongside Audrey Hepburn, playing an older version of Robin Hood). Additionally, Connery appeared in The Next Man, A Bridge Too Far, The First Great Train Robbery, Meteor, and Cuba.
Entering the 1980s, Connery landed roles in Outland, Time Bandits, Five Days One Summer, Wrong Is Right, and Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He then portrayed immortal, mysterious Spanish swordsman Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez in Russell Mulcahy's original saga of immortals in Highlander (1986, alongside Christopher Lambert), and later reprised his role in its sequel, Highlander II: The Quickening (1991). He also starred as William of Baskerville, a respected Franciscan monk trying to solve a mysterious death in a monastery, in Jean-Jacques Annaud's adaptation of Umberto Eco's novel, Name der Rose, Der (1986).
Brian De Palma asked Connery to play the supporting role of Jim Malone, a veteran Chicago cop who teaches Kevin Costner’s character how to beat the mob, in the gangster drama written by David Mamet, The Untouchables (1987, also with Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia and Robert De Niro). Connery’s divergent performance received acclaim and won him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Afterward, he costarred with Mark Harmon and Meg Ryan in Peter Hyams' thriller The Presidio (1988, as Lt. Col. Alan Caldwell), with Harrison Ford in Steven Spielberg's adventure Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, as Professor Henry Jones) and with Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick in Sidney Lumet's adaptation of Vincent Patrick's novel, the crime comedy Family Business (1989).
In John McTiernan's blockbuster The Hunt For Red October (based on the best selling novel by Tom Clancy), Connery starred as Marko Ramius, the skipper of the Soviet Union's newest nuclear sub, and then became an expatriate British publisher turned intelligence in Fred Schepisi's film version of John le Carré's novel, The Russia House (alongside Michelle Pfeiffer, both in 1990). After appearing as King Richard in Kevin Reynolds' Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991, starring Kevin Costner), Connery executive produced and starred as an eccentric scientist conducting research in the Amazon jungle in John McTiernan's romantic adventure Medicine Man (1992, alongside Lorraine Bracco). He also appeared in Rising Sun (1993), A Good Man in Africa (1994), Just Cause (1995), First Knight (1995) and Dragonheart (1996, voice).
In 1996, Connery costarred with Nicholas Cage, portraying John Patrick Mason, an ex-con who broke out of Alcatraz in 1963, in Michael Bay's action thriller The Rock, and won a MTV Movie Award for Best Onscreen Duo (shared with Nicolas Cage). He then tried to destroy the world with a weather changing machine in Jeremiah S. Chechik's film version of the TV series The Avengers (with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman), and became Gena Rowlands' husband in writer-director Willard Carroll's ensemble drama comedy Playing by Heart (also with Angelina Jolie and Dennis Quaid, both in 1998). He also made his London stage producing debut with “Art” (1996, by Yasmina Reza) and later won a Tony Award for Best Play when it was brought to Broadway in 1998.
The following year, Connery earned a European Film Award (Audience Award) for Best Actor for portraying the world's greatest thief, Robert "Mac" MacDougal, in Jon Amiel's Entrapment (opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones). TV audiences could also hear his voice as Athair, great-grandfather of Knuckles the Echidna, in three episodes of the cartoon series “Sonic Underground.”
The new millennium saw Connery star as William Forrester, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, in Gus Van Sant's drama Finding Forrester (2000, with Rob Brown) and play Allan Quatermain, the world’s greatest adventurer, in Stephen Norrington's big screen adaptation of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's comic books, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003). He also recently reprised his role as James Bond for Electronic Arts' newest video game version of From Russia With Love (2005).
"I've honestly not been too aware of my age until I went to the doctor for a full check-up. He said I had the heart of a young man - 'but you're not young, you're 40.’” Sean Connery
- AFI: Life Achievement Award, 2005
- European Film Awards: Audience Award - Best Actor, Entrapment, 1999
- ShoWest Convention: Lifetime Achievement Award, 1999
- Kennedy Center Honors: Lifetime Contribution to Arts and Culture, 1999
- Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award: Lifetime Achievement, 1998
- BAFTA Fellowship, 1998
- Tony: Best Play, Art; shared award; Connery was one of the producers, 1998
- MTV Movie Award: Best Onscreen Duo, The Rock; award shared with Nicolas Cage, 1997
- Cecil B. DeMille: Lifetime Achievement Award, 1996
- Golden Globe: Cecil B. DeMille Award, 1995
- National Board of Review: Career Achievement Award, 1993
- American Cinematheque Award, 1992
- NATO: Worldwide Star of the Year, 1990
- National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actor, The Untouchables, 1987
- Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor, The Untouchables, 1987
- Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor, The Untouchables, 1987
- BAFTA: Best Actor, The Name of the Rose, 1987
- Golden Globe: World Film Favorite (Male), 1971