Sean Connery competed in the Mr Universe competition in 1953 when he was 22 years old. Connery passed away on October 31. A statement on his official website read, “It’s with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Sir Thomas Sean Connery at the age of 90 on October 31, 2020. Sir Sean died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family.”
According to the database Muscle Memory, Connery, going by the name Tom Connery, his birth name, did not place in the Tall category.
Connery Got an Audition for His First Production Through Mr Universe
On April 26, 1994, a Guardian article on James Bond author Ian Fleming noted he published his first book Casino Royale in the same month, April 1953, as Connery was competing in Mr Universe. The article went on to say that following the competition, Connery heard about a role in the chorus line for the musical South Pacific while competing. In 1965, Connery told Playboy Magazine that while on tour with the production he decided to become an actor full-time.
A March 2006 BBC profile on Connery says that the actor appeared in the 1950 Mr Universe competition. There is no record on Muscle Memory of Connery appearing in that year’s competition. The profile says that as a result of his appearance in Mr Universe, Connery began to “pick up modeling work.”
A 2005 feature on Connery in The Daily Telegraph describes the actor as traveling to London for the Mr Universe competition where he came in third in the junior section.
Comedian Mike Myers Said He Developed a ‘Man Crush’ on Connery Thanks to His Appearance in Mr Universe
During the American Film Institute’s tribute to Connery in June 2006, comedian and actor Mike Myers showed a photo of to the crowd of the Goldfinger star competing in the competition.
Myers told the audience that after seeing the photo, his “man crush deepens,” The Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
Prior to Mr Universe, Connery Was a Nude Model to Scottish Art Students
In August 2020, the Scottish Daily Record reported that Connery moonlighted as a nude model at the Edinburgh College of Art between February and May 1952. At the time, Connery was described as a “keen bodybuilder.” The Daily Record quoted Richard DeMarco, one of the students who painted Connery naked, as saying The Untouchables star was “too beautiful for words, a virtual Adonis.”
Dr. No’s Producers Nearly Went With Another Bodybuilder for the Role of James Bond
In his obituary for American bodybuilder Steve Reeves, The Guardian’s John Francis Lane wrote that Reeves had been offered the role of James Bond in Dr. No prior to Connery. Reeves said in an interview that he did not feel like the role was a “winner” and that he wasn’t sure if he would have worked out in the role. Reeves added, “That was a mistake, obviously.”
According to a 1997 Washington Post feature on Connery, he was cast as Bond in 1961. The article refers to Connery as “former coffin polisher and Mr. Universe.” Other jobs that have been attributed to Connery were “milkman, lorry driver, cement mixer, bricklayer, steel bender,” The Guardian reported in 1971. Connery told GQ Magazine in a 2008 interview that his worst ever job was as a coffin polisher because he “wasn’t very good at it.”