HIS NAME IS CONNERY, SEAN CONNERY
Sir Thomas Sean Connery passed away on October 31, 2020 at the age of 90. He is best remembered for originating the role of James Bond 007 on film. But his life encompassed so much more.
Named after his grandfather, Thomas Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on August 25, 1930. His mother was Euphemia “Effie” McBain McLean a cleaning woman. His father Joseph Connery was a factory worker and a lorry driver. He has a younger brother Neil. His first job was as a milkman. Then came a stint in the navy for which he was given a medical discharge for a duodenal ulcer – a condition that afflicted most of the males in his family. Back in Scotland the varied jobs he had included lorry driver, lifeguard, an artist’s model, and a coffin polisher. In an effort to supplement his income, Connery helped out backstage at the King’s Theatre. This was in 1951. He landed a smart part in a production of SOUTH PACIFIC and so his career began.
In 1959 Connery took on a role that changed his life – Disney’s DARBY O’GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE. Two producers were looking for someone to play James Bond and his role in the Disney movie brought Connery to their attention. The rest is history. In 1987 he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for THE UNTOUCHEABLES. His other awards include:
1972: Golden Globe Awards – Henrietta Award (World Film Favorite – Male)
1987: Golden Globe Awards – Best Supporting Actor for THE UNTOUCHEABLES
1987: British Academy Film Awards – Best Actor for THE NAME OF THE ROSE
1995: Golden Globe Awards – Cecil B. DeMille Award – Recipient
1998: British Academy Film Awards Fellowship – Recipient
Sean Connery appeared in more than 70 films. But in 2006 after having received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award he confirmed his retirement from acting. He no longer enjoyed working with the “idiots now making films in Hollywood.”
Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962. Together they had a son named Jason. They were separated in 1971 and divorced in 1973. In 1975 he married Micheline Roquebrune a painter. That marriage lasted until his death. Connery is survived by his wife Micheline, his son Jason, and his grandson Dashiell.
Sean Connery died in his sleep at the age of 90. He was at his home in the Bahamas. Although they did not disclose his cause of death when they announced his passing his son Jason said for some time he had been unwell. The next day his wife Micheline said in his final years he had dementia. Many, many friends and colleagues paid tribute to him but I think longtime friend Michael Caine said it best when he called him a, “great star, brilliant actor, and a wonderful friend.”
I would like to take a moment to tell you a story that I think showcases Sean Connery the man. In1958 he had a major role in a film called ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE alongside Lana Turner. There was more drama off screen than there was in front of the camera. Connery and Turner went to restaurants together and attended West Ends show. The problem was that Turner had a notorious mobster for a boyfriend named Johnny Stompanato and he got jealous. He stormed onto what was supposed to be a closed set and pointed a gun at Connery. Only his intended victim took the gun away from him, beat the snot out of him, and tossed him out on his ass. Two Scotland Yard detectives escorted him to the airport where he left the country. Some men act their parts while other men live them.
As of this writing Sean Connery passed away almost three weeks ago but it is only now that I feel I can write this post. Even now I am feeling the loss. Not because he was the first James Bond. To me he was always more than that. He is and always will be my absolute favorite actor of all time. My God what a talent! And to remember him only as having played James Bond is to belittle all his other accomplishments. I can watch anything with him in it over and over again – and I have. I never get tired. You mention Sean Connery and most people think GOLDFINGER. I think THE HILL. They say THE UNTOUCHEABLES, I say THE NAME OF THE ROSE. They talk about THE ROCK and I talk about FINDING FORRESTER. Despite his having won an Oscar I think his talent was still underappreciated. But I love him for more than his talent.
I saw my first James Bond movie when I was 8 years old. From the beginning I was hooked. With DOCTOR NO Master Connery took an eight-year to Jamaica. I had never even heard of the place. With FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE he took me to Istanbul – wherever that was. In GOLDFINGER he took me to Kentucky. With THUNDERBALL it was the Bahamas. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE gave me Japan. I traveled the world with Master Connery taking me by the hand. Thank you.
As I got older I came to appreciate him even more. By now he had left James Bond behind but that was okay because it had never been just about James Bond. I saw him in SHALAKO, THE MOLLY MAGUIRES, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING, and many more. Westerns, mysteries, adventure, drama, his roles encompassed different genres but they all had one thing in common. Whatever Master Connery did he did with grace and he did it in style. He was no longer taking a small boy on a world tour. Now he was showing a young man how to do everything with style. In that there was no better teacher.
Time passed and it took its toll on Master Connery as it does with all men. He got older and the parts he played reflected this. He played Harrison Ford’s father in INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE. He played Kevin Costner’s mentor in THE UNTOUCHEABLES. In THE ROCK his character had been in prison for twenty years. Didn’t matter. The young man had given way to an older man. Where once Master Connery had shown me how to do it with style now he was teaching me how to grow old with dignity.
And now he is gone and my universe is a little bit dimmer because one of its stars has faded and gone out. Thank you Master Connery for being my hero. You may have never met me but I certainly knew you and I am richer for it. I’m not going to cry right now although I certainly feel like it. I’ll leave that for when I have finished this post and I’m alone with my thoughts and feelings. But I will end by saying this – right now I am shaken and stirred!