Legendary actor Sean Connery, famous for playing the original on-screen James Bond, has died at the age of 90, prompting an outpouring of tributes for one of Britain’s best-loved film heroes. The star’s son Jason Connery told the BBC that his father died peacefully in his sleep overnight in Nassau in the Bahamas, where he has a home, having been “unwell for some time”.
Best known for his seven turns as Bond, beginning with 1962’s “Dr. No,” the Scottish-born Connery freed himself from the debonair typecast to play myriad other roles besides agent 007. His decades-long career filled with accolades, including an Oscar, two BAFTA awards and People magazine’s “Sexiest Man of the Century” in 1999. The actor, who became Sir Sean in 2000, won numerous awards during his decades-spanning career encompassing an array of big-screen hits, including an Oscar, three Golden Globes, and two Bafta awards.
Thomas Sean Connery was born of Irish ancestry in the slums of Edinburgh, Scotland, on Aug. 25, 1930. The son of a cleaning woman and a factory worker, Connery left school at 14 to work as an unskilled laborer. He was drafted into the Royal Navy at age 17, but he was discharged three years later due to a serious case of ulcers. He returned to Edinburgh and worked odd jobs, including as a lifeguard. He took up bodybuilding and placed third in the 1950 Mr. Universe competition. A few years later, he moved to London and started acting, landing his first role in the chorus of a London production of “South Pacific.” In 1956, he landed the role of a battered prizefighter in the BBC production of “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” earning him positive reviews and the attention of the wider industry. His first film was “No Road Back,” a B-movie crime yarn in 1956. He played opposite Lana Turner in “Another Time, Another Place,” and landed a several roles that stressed his looks, such as “Tarzan’s Great Adventure” in 1959.His turn as Count Vronsky to Claire Bloom’s Anna Karenina on the BBC helped raise him to the top of a newspaper poll of readers asked to suggest the ideal James Bond.He landed the role without a screen test, after an interview with producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, according to Variety. It was a controversial choice at the time, as Connery was an unknown outside Britain.
Connery will be honoured in a private funeral ceremony, with a memorial event to be held later, according to a publicist.