EON Productions, the production company behind bringing Ian Fleming’s iconic character to the screen, shared the news on their company website.
In their statement, Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli shared in part, “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.”
Connery appeared in a total of seven 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). The latter was one of only two Bond films made outside of the EON Productions umbrella.
His performances were interrupted by George Lazenby’s outing in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and David Niven in Casino Royale (1967) before Roger Moore took over the role in 1973. When Connery reprised the character in 1983, the story focused on an aging Bond.
The current Agent 007, Daniel Craig, provided a statement shared with the James Bond Twitter account. “Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style,” he said in the statement. “The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.”
Connery Is Largely Regarded as the Best Bond
As fans flood Twitter with dedications to the iconic actor, one sentiment seems to be carried throughout, Connery was the best.
Radio Times quantified his ranking among the Bonds that followed in a poll taken by more than 14,000 fans. Voted on in rounds, Conner beat Craig in round one. He would go on to face off against Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, winning the title with 44% of the vote.
Rotten Tomatoes seems to agree, ranking three of Connery-led Bond films among the top five of the franchise. Goldfinger took the top spot, with Rotten Tomatoes writing, “Goldfinger is where James Bond as we know him comes into focus – it features one of 007’s most famous lines (‘A martini. Shaken, not stirred’) and a wide range of gadgets that would become the series’ trademark.”
Dr. No ranked third and From Russia with Love was ranked fourth.
Bond Was Not Connery’s Only Iconic Role
While Connery became iconic as Bond, it was not his only successful film role.
The Scottish actor would appear in other popular franchises, such as Indiana Jones and Highlander. Yet, it was his turn as Jim Malone in the Prohibition-era gangster film, The Untouchables, that would earn Connery an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
When reviewing The Untouchables, Robert Ebert singled Connery out as the film’s best performance. He wrote, “Connery brings a human element to his character; he seems to have had an existence apart from the legend of the Untouchables, and when he’s onscreen we can believe, briefly, that the Prohibition Era was inhabited by people, not caricatures.”