Sean Connery, who was the iconic James Bond in many people’s minds, has died at the age of 90.
Although he starred in many Hollywood movies and even won an Oscar (but not as Bond), it’s the role of 007 that is forever engraved in many people’s minds when they think about the Scottish-born actor.
Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli told Variety that Connery “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.’”
The cause of death was not clear, but his son said he had suffered health issues for some time.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Son Says Connery Died Peacefully at Home
Jason Connery, the actor’s son, told BBC that his dad had been “unwell for some time.” He also has three stepchildren named Oliver, Micha, and Stephane.
Jason told BBC on October 31 that his father “had many of his family who could be in the Bahamas around him” and died overnight.
He said: “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.”
2. Connery Leaves Behind a Wife, Michelene
Connery had been married to Micheline Roquebrune, a French-Moroccan painter, since 1975. In recent years, they lived together in the Bahamas. She has survived him.
The Sun called Connery’s wife the “one true love of his life.”
He told the Sun, “Micheline is an amazing woman. She is the love of my life.”
They met at a Moroccan golf tournament. Here’s how Micheline described the meeting to the Sun:
I saw this man from the back, and of course, he had a fine physique. But that first day I didn’t know who he was or anything about him. Then I dreamed I saw this man. I was in his arms. And I thought ‘At last, peace.’ The next day I went back to the tournament and that was that!”
His first wife was Diane Cilento.
He had a well-known affair with the pop star Lynsey De Paul, who told The Standard, “I didn’t want to have an affair with him and I tried to keep our relationship platonic but he pursued me relentlessly. He wasn’t my type at all because I’m not usually attracted to the macho type.” She said the relationship ended abruptly and she regretted it because she read that he was accused of beating his first wife.
“I wasn’t aware of Sean’s violent side when I was with him, but I was quite horrified when I read that he had said it was OK to hit a woman. And if what Diane said wasn’t true, then why has he never denied it?” she told the publication.
In 1965, Connery famously told Playboy Magazine, according to Yahoo: “I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman–although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man. An openhanded slap is justified–if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning. If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it.”
3. Connery Was the First James Bond, a Role he Won Without a Screen Test
Many actors have played the role of James Bond since Connery, with varying degrees of success, but he was the first actor to inhabit the role and, as such, to many, he will always be the true James Bond.
Variety describes how Connery’s choice as Bond was controversial at first because he won the role as a relative unknown without a screen test.
According to BBC, he starred in seven James Bond movies. Of course, he also starred in a slew of other well-known Hollywood movies, including The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, and Indiana Jones.
He won an Oscar for The Untouchables.
4. Connery Was Born in Scotland But Was of Irish Ancestry
According to Variety, although he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Connery was actually of Irish ancestry. His real name was Thomas Sean Connery.
He was raised in the “slums of Edinburgh” in an impoverished background, according to Variety, which meant he had to drop out of school as a teenager to work as “an unskilled laborer.”
By 17 he had been drafted into the Royal Navy but “was discharged three years later due to a serious case of ulcers,” Variety reported.
According to his IMDB profile, Connery’s mother, Euphamia C. Maclean, was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, “was a factory worker and truck driver.” He has a brother named Neil Connery.
5. Connery Competed in a Mr. Universe Competition
Connery held many jobs before becoming an actor, according to IMDB: He worked as “a milkman, lorry driver, a laborer, artist’s model for the Edinburgh College of Art, coffin polisher and bodybuilder.”
The latter, his impressive physique, made him a Mr. Universe competitor.
“Connery did compete in a NABBA Mr. Universe contest, however there have always been questions as to which contest and what his placement was,” Enduring Aesthetics explains. “In previous articles and interviews Connery has been cited as competing in either the 1950 or 1953 NABBA Mr. Universe contest and it’s frequently claimed that he came in third place overall or third place in a junior division.”