Sean Connery has died at the age of 90. The Academy Award winning actor who portrayed James Bond seven times, death was reported by the BBC on Saturday.
The handsome star also starred for Alfred Hitchcock in Marnie (1964) and for Sidney Lumet in the physically demanding The Hill (1965), The Anderson Tapes (1971), The Offence (1973), Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Family Business (1989).
Connery’s body of work also includes the bizarre Zardoz (1974), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits (1981), Outland (1981) and The Hunt for Red October (1990).
More recently, he starred in Rising Sun (1993), Dragonheart (1996), The Rock (1996), The Avengers (1998), Entrapment (1999), Finding Forrester (2000) and, his final feature, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).
Connery laid down the Bond blueprint by starring in the first five United Artists movies to feature Ian Fleming’s British superspy: Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963) — said to be the actor’s personal favorite — Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967). That fulfilled his original contract.
After Connery rebuffed an offer of $1 million and said he was finished with Bond, George Lazenby stepped in to star in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service(1969), but the Australian actor was one and done. Connery then accepted a then-record $1.25 million salary — plus a promise that UA would fund two non-Bond films for him — to return as 007 in Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
“Fed up to here with the whole Bond bit,” Connery spurned a $5 million payday to star in Live and Let Die (1973), handing over the reins to Englishman Roger Moore. But Connery would portray 007 one last time, at age 52, in the aptly titled (and unofficial Bond film) Never Say Never Again (1983) at Warner Bros.
Asked to account for the phenomenal success of the Bond films, Connery told Playboy in a November 1965 interview that “timing had a lot to do with it.”
In the 1965 Playboy interview, Connery caused an uproar when he was quoted as saying: “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 hit a man. An open-handed slap is justified — if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning.”
Feminists were outraged, and he always claimed the quote was taken out of context. His Bond films remained popular.
In the early 1970s, Connery launched his own production company, Tantallon Films, and made The Offence, starring as a world-weary British detective.
May his soul rest in perfect peace.