After all these years the James Bond series of films, with the different actors portraying British Secret Service agent, 007, Sean Connery remains to be considered to be the best portrayal of James Bond, a character created by author, Ian Fleming. His popularity as the original and best James Bond continues today, the character being featured at 007 fan sites internationally: M16, James Bond International Fan Club, 007, Inside the World of James Bond. But for the icon of what the character James Bond represents is only a portion of Sean Connery's career as a talented and professional actor.
Not known by many, except the hardcore Bond fans, the first James Bond was portrayed in a 1954 by Barry Nelson in a TV special based upon Ian Fleming's Casino Royale novel, which he was paid $1000 for the rights.
Then there was a South African radio show, where in 1956, Bob Holness provided the voice of James Bond. That show was based upon Fleming's novel, Moonraker.
The first “official” production of a James Bond film was Dr. No, released in 1962. Its opening scene, to be a trademark afterward, was the gun barrel sequence. Of course, it was based on Fleming's sixth novel of the same name.
But from 1962 to 1967, Sean Connery made the character James Bond, agent 007, famous starting with the 1958 novel, Dr. No that was produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.
While Fleming provided Bond's favorite weapon in his first series, Casino Royale, as the Beretta 418, he had chosen it because it was the gun he used as a Naval intelligence officer in WW2. In 1956, just before publication of From Russia with Love, Fleming received a fan letter from Major Geoffrey Boothroyd, retired and a gun collector. He stated he admired the Bond novels, but thought that the chosen Beretta 418 was a poor choice and a “lady's gun”. Fleming wrote back and asked if had a recommendation for a suitable standard sidearm, pointing out that in Moonraker Bond used a Colt Army Special. Boothroyd wrote back and recommended the Walther PPK 7.65mm for its size and ammunition available everywhere, but also have a large frame revolver for long-range work. The rest of the story became the history of James Bond, 007.
Bond's primary sidearm, in the first Connery film, Dr. No, was the Walther PPK and used the Smith & Wesson, .38-caliber, for “long-range work”. On Crab Key he uses the S&W to take out three of Dr. No's men.
|Walther PPK in .380ACP or 9mm|
In the 1959, Goldfinger film, Bond (Connery) carries a Walther PPK and uses it in a hollowed-out copy of “The Bible to Be Read as Literature”. In the next film in 1960, the Walther PPK was once again seen in a leather conceal-carry holster system.
In From a View to a Kill, starring Roger Moore, formerly TV-show The Saint, a long-barreled Colt .45 was used as Bond's main gun.
In For Your Eyes Only, also starring Roger Moore, Bond is given a Savage 99F by an American police officer; but the PPK is still the sidearm carried by 007.
After Sean Connery portrayed in five 007 films, he retired temporarily in order to act in other films in 1967.
Roger Moore was another famous and favorite Bond, who began his career by portraying Simon Templar in the TV-series The Saint, but also starred in a comedy sketch in 1964 as James Bond.
David Niven played retired 007 in the spoof entitled Casino Royale in 1967.
Next was George Lazenby, who picked up where Connery left off in 1969 with On Her Majesty's Secret Service, an Australian actor. Number six in Bond lineup, in my opinion it was the worst ever made, mostly because Lazenby just did not match the charm and professionalism of Connery or Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan. Fortunately he only made one Bond film.
In 1971, Sean Connery returns, much to the delight of his fans, in Diamonds are Forever. At this time he was an advocate of supporting Scotland politically, like pushing for Scotland as an independent state, but also gave to other charities. His entire salary made in Diamonds Are Forever was donated to a Scottish education charity and the founding of an organization to promote Scotland's sovereignty.
Roger Moore returned, and performed as James Bond from 1973 to 1985, becoming a Bond with a sense of humor, but believable in Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill. This gave him the record for the most Bond films portrayed in the official EON series.
In 1983, Connery returned out of retirement and portrayed Bond in Never Say Never Again; the title being appropriate because it was the last time he portrayed Bond – despite the film ending with the tantalizing message to the audience that Connery would be in other Bond series films.
In 1987, The Living Daylights, and 1989, License to Kill, starred a Welsh actor, Timothy Dalton and among Bond fans, he impressed them with his deep portrayal of 007, keeping to Fleming's original character.
Pierce Brosnan followed Dalton from 1995 to 2002, the Remington Steele actor in: Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.
The recent Bond, 2006 to 2012, is Daniel Craig.
While Sean Connery became famous, and a superstar, because of portraying Bond so well, he also acted in some great films. Here is a list of my favorites beyond Darby O'Gill and the Little People produced by Disney Films and between and after the Bond films [not a complete list, just my favorites]: The Molly Maguires, The Anderson Tapes, Murder on the Orient Express, The Wind and the Lion, Robin and Marian, A Bridge Too Far, The First Great Train Robbery, Outland, The Name of the Rose [BAFTA Best Actor], The Untouchables [Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globe Award, NBR and KCFCC, nominated for supporting role BAFTA], Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade [Nominated two awards], The Hunt for Red October [nominated BAFTA Award], The Russia House, Highland II: The Quickening, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Medicine Man, Dragonheart (voice of dragon), Entrapment, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (a favorite among the Steampunk fans).
The following tribute made by Harrison Ford, is one of the best videos about Sean Connery:
|Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade|
Sean Connery's last Bond film certainly showed why he had been the favorite, and as the tech person stated, the fans hoped there would be gratuitous sex and violence in the world of the famous Cold War spy. Here is an interview concerning Never Say Never Again:
As you can see the host provides an insight upon Connery and his road to becoming the ultimate James Bond, 007. On The Fiddler was one of his good early films. I forgot to add to my list of favorites of his film: The Man Who Would Be King. And who could not resist watching scenes of him as mentor in The Highlander. “In the end, there can only be one”.
Sir Thomas Sean Connery was born on August 25th 1930 in Fountainbridge of Edinburgh, Scotland. His father was Roman Catholic and his mother was a Protestant. He has a younger brother, born in 1938. He began to grow rapidly at age 12 and by 18 he was 6 ft, 2” and claimed he lost his virginity to an adult woman in an ATS uniform at the age of 14.
Sean's first job was as a milkman and then he joined the Royal Navy, where he got two tattoos, one that reads: “Mum and Dad” and the other “Scotland Forever”. Discharged medically because of a duodenal ulcer he took various jobs working as a lifeguard, a laborer, an artist's model, and a coffin polisher. Connery began bodybuilding when he was 18, and in 1951 he trained with a former gym instructor in the British army. In 1950, he was third in the Mr. Universe contest.
|Connery and Aston Martin|
Sean was an enthusiastic footballer and was offered a trial with East Fife. While on tour for the filming of South Pacific, Connery played a football match against a player that happened to be a scout. Connery was offered a contract immediately after the game. But Sean decided to become an actor, which later he would comment that it was an intelligent move.
Robert Henderson, American actor and director, took an interest in him and loaned him classic copies of works by Leo Tolstoy, Bernard Shaw, and William Shakespeare for Sean to study.
Connery had procured several roles as an extra, but was struggling financially, taking a part-time job as a babysitter for journalist Peter Noble and his actress wife, Marianne Stone. He also got small television parts.
In 1957, he hired agent Richard Hatton who got him a minor gangster part and got a chance for a leading role as Mountain McLintock for BBC after Jack Palance was rejected.
In 1959, Connery landed a leading role in the Walt Disney Productions film directed by Robert Stevenson – Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Historian and film critic, Leonard Maltin wrote that:
Darby O'Gill and the Little People is not only one of Disney's best films, but is certainly one of the best fantasies ever put on film.
After a part in two television roles, Sean Connery landed the first Bond film in 1962, Dr. No. It would propel Connery into stardom and eventually super stardom as he progressed to playing other great roles in other films throughout his career.
In Medicine Man and The Name of the Rose he is out of character, in terms of what he usually plays, but once again he delights and surprised his audience as his comedy in Indiana Jones film – and does it well.
Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento from 1962 to 1973. They had a son, who is an actor, Jason Connery. Connery is married to a Moroccan-French painter, Micheline Roquebrune since 1975.
Knighted in July of 2000 by Queen Elizabeth II and receiving the Kennedy Center Honors in the United States; he has been heavily involved in the political movement for Scotland to become an independent nation instead of a state of the United Kingdom. He has been called the greatest living Scot and Scotland's greatest living national treasure, as well as being proclaimed the sexiest man alive in 1989 by People magazine and in 1999, at age 69, he was voted the Sexiest Man of the Century. In the film industry, there are few as admired internationally as Sir Sean Connery.
Sean has a villa in Kranidi, Greece where he spends much of his time and shares a helicopter platform to get about with his neighbor, King Wilhelm-Alexander of the Netherlands. Not bad of a man who was born into common beginnings, but whom cherished his parental upbringing and honored their principles of how a man should live. Indeed, he lives like a man who would be king.
A member of the Scottish National Party, which he has supported financially and through personal appearances, the funding ceased when the UK Parliament passed legislation that prohibited overseas funding of political activities in the UK.
Sir Connery swore never to return to Scotland until it became an independent state after that incident, but did appear out of respect at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2010. While the Wine Spectator stated that Sean had a heart condition, he has made it through an operation on his vocal cords because of nodules, cataracts removed from his eyes, and a chipped bone while playing golf as an avid player and attendance in the stands at golf tournaments. Makes sense – golfing was invented in Scotland.
The man is resilient and despite aging
like all of us do, he ages so well making him more distinguished
looking as time goes on. Of course, having a beautiful artistic wife
certainly must help; but then it seems since the 1960s, he was destined to be surrounded by beautiful women.
|Painting by |
Micheline Roquebrune - Connery
What William Shakespeare did for literature (and the stage), so goes it for the legendary actor Sir Sean Conner an extraordinary gentleman.
Sir Connery has several charities he provides funds to and if you are interested in helping him in this part, visit his official website. As he states his three areas of importance: education, culture, and Scotland, he stands out in all three categories.
WatchMojo.com salutes Sean Connery in what they consider his top ten performances in the following video:
I've always been hopeful about Scotland's prospects. And I now believe more than ever Scotland is within touching distance of achieving independence and equality.
- Sir Thomas Sean Connery
- Sir Thomas Sean Connery
I can certainly understand Sir Connery and the Scots passion about independence; for it it not sadly ironic that the part of what is known as "New England", part of the original 13 states has become a nest bed of unconstitutional government and in defiance of what our Founders so bravely and wisely created - to waste under federal and state tyranny. In regards to that perspective, Scotland certainly deserves freedom from the UK brand of government tyranny under nanny-state socialism.