Sorry, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. While you all tried your best to inhabit Hollywood’s most iconic secret agent, none of you could upstage the masculine allure and suave cool of the first man to take on the role of James Bond.
While Sean Connery, who is dead at age 90 on Saturday, went on to do a wide range of notable films after headlining seven 007 adventures starting with 1962’s “Dr. No” and and ending with 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.” From the first time he said, “The name’s Bond … James Bond,” the charismatic Scotsman would own the role.
Craig, who is about to leave the franchise once the pandemic-delayed “No Time to Die” is eventually released, shared his thoughts in a statement about his predecessor, saying “Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and much more. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.”
Who else could get away with dialogue like this while acting opposite Honor Blackman in 1964’s “Goldfinger.”
Bond: “Who are you?
Bond: “I must be dreaming.”
In between his string of 007 movies, he managed to work with Alfred Hitchcock in 1964’s “Marnie” opposite Tippi Hedren as a sexually disturbed thief to avoid being typecast. He would be part of the ensemble cast of Sidney Lumet’s 1974’s version of the Agatha Christie mystery, “Murder on the Orient Express.” He also joined his longtime friend Michael Caine in John Huston’s 1974 adventure about two rogue British soldiers in India. They both agreed it was their favorite among their many movies. In 1976, he played an aging Robin Hood opposite Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian. He
In 1987, Connery would join Kevin Costner who played Eliot Ness in Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables” as they pursued Robert De Niro’s crime boss Al Capone. He played Jim Malone, a veteran hard-nosed Irish-American police officer who ends up being ambushed by a gunman at his home. But before he expires, he heroically gives vital info to Ness so he can catch the bad guys. The role would earn him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (watch his acceptance speech above). As Roger Ebert said in his review, “When he’s onscreen we can believe, briefly, that the Prohibition Era was inhabited by people, not caricatures.”
In 1989, he would play Harrison Ford’s father Henry Jones Sr., a professor of medieval literature who was more interested in seeking the Grail than raising his son. Connery admitted he had fun with the role of a gruff Victorian Scottish father. In 1990, he scored a hit in “The Hunt for Red October” in the first in a series of Jack Ryan submarine spy thrillers based on Tom Clancy’s novels. He played Marko Ramius, a dangerous Soviet submarine captain.
He would go on to earn other honors — including being named as both the Sexiest Man Alive in 1989 and The Sexiest Man of the Century in 1999 by People magazine. His trophies included a BAFTA as Best Actor in 1987’s “The Name of the Rose,” a Golden Globe for “The Untouchables” and an honorary Cecil B. DeMille award in 1995. He also received a Kennedy Center Honors in 1999.
After a string of critical disappoints including 1995’s “First Knight,” Connery received glowing reviews for Gus Van Sant’s “Finding Forrester” as a reclusive writer who befriends a black teen boy who is invited to attend a prestigious high school. He was offered the role of Gandalf in “The Lord of the Rings” series but he turned it down, claiming he did not understand the script. He also said no to being the Architect in “The Matrix” trilogy. When he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, he confirmed he was retiring from acting.
Perhaps his most favorite honor was when he was knighted in 2000 by Queen Elizabeth, proclaiming that “It’s one of the proudest days of my life.”
It’s time to perhaps toast this legendary performer who gave his fans so much joy. Of course, make it a martini – shaken, not stirred.
Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?