Sean Connery, who has died at the age of 90, was married two times, left behind a son and three stepchildren, and was raised by working class parents in a Scottish slum.
Connery, of course, would rise from poverty to become one of the world’s best known actors, primarily through his starring role as the original James Bond. He also won an Oscar for another movie and became a household name.
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.’”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Connery Left Behind a Son, Jason Connery, an Actor Who Released a Statement on His Death
Connery is survived by his son, Jason Connery. According to Jason’s website, he is an actor who “has appeared in over 60 films, television movies and series since his breakthrough role as Robin Hood in the UK television series Robin of Sherwood in 1985. His passion has always been to get behind the camera and has now directed everyone from Academy Award winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr, to an heir to the throne, Prince Edward Wessex.”
His website explains his dad’s influence on his decision to pursue an acting and directing career, saying, “Jason Connery’s love of film and passion for directing came at an early age sitting on the sets of his father, Sir Sean Connery, and mother, Diane Cilento, watching such luminaries as Alfred Hitchcock, Gina Lollobrigida, Sydney Lumet, Joanne Woodward, Bridget Bardot, and the like working their craft.”
Jason Connery told BBC that his dad had been “unwell for some time.” He also has a son named 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 Described His Second Wife, Micheline, as ‘the Love of My Life’
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!
Micheline was married before and also produces plays, according to The Sun.
She had three children from a previous marriage, who became Connery’s stepchildren, Oliver, Micha, and Stephane. They did not have children together. Jason is Connery’s son with his first wife, Diane Cilento.
He was still married to his first wife when he first got together with Micheline, who described their first sexual encounter to France’s Gala magazine, saying, “He grabs hold of me and kisses me passionately. Almost brutally. Animalistically. His skin releases a scent, not of hot sand, but more like Silex, a warm and intoxicating smell like stones rubbing against each other. I’m transported. The four days that follow, we continue to play golf like strangers then we meet to make love like crazy people. The reality is even better than the fantasy. No man has ever had this effect on me.”
3. Connery’s First Marriage to Diane Cilento Was Marred by Abuse Allegations
His first wife was Diane Cilento.
According to IMDB, Cilento was an actress who received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the 1963 movie, Tom Jones.
Her career began to decline after she married Connery, who was the second of three husbands; they were married from 1962 to 1973, according to IMDB.
The site says that Cilento “stated that she was beaten unconscious by Connery in their hotel room during filming of The Hill (1965).”
The Guardian reported that Cilento was “attractive, blonde, husky-voiced” and “would be more fittingly recalled for her roles in a dozen or so British films in the 1950s and 60s, to which she brought a dose of much-needed sexuality.”
Australian-born, she died of cancer at age 78 in 2011.
Connery had harsh words in later years for his ex-wife when he accused her of falsely saying he was cutting his son Jason out of his will. “Diane can’t move on from the break-up of our marriage and I have already had to contend with her accusations about me being violent towards her,” Connery told Daily Mail. “Now the lies seem to be getting even more vicious and, what is worse, she is dragging our son into it.”
Connery added of the couple’s son, “I never told him I wasn’t going to leave him a penny in my will or that I said he only had the career he has as an actor and director because of his name.”
Daily Mail also quoted Cilento as saying, “I do feel there’s unfinished business between us. I loved the old Sean, I still do. Sometimes when I see him today on some talk show, I catch a fleeting glimpse of my old love in the turn of his head or a well-remembered phrase, and it still makes my heart turn over.”
4. Connery Had a Controversial Affair With a Pop Star
Connery 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.”
5. Connery Was Born to Working Class Parents & Also Has a Brother
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. Biography.com reported that Connery’s brother “appeared in a few films during the late 1960s and then left to run a business in Glasgow.”