FILE - In this file photo dated April 20, 1964, James Bond, alias, Sean Connery, finds himself in a sticky situation with actress Shirley Eaton at Pinewood Studios, near London. Miss Eaton was given a liberal coating of gold paint for a scene in the latest Bond thriller “Goldfinger,” with unidentified woman at top. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Victor Boynton)

FILE - In this file photo dated April 20, 1964, James Bond, alias, Sean Connery, finds himself in a sticky situation with actress Shirley Eaton at Pinewood Studios, near London. Miss Eaton was given a liberal coating of gold paint for a scene in the latest Bond thriller “Goldfinger,” with unidentified woman at top. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Victor Boynton)

Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Scottish actor Sean Connery, the first actor to play James Bond on film and for many fans the best, has died. He was 90.

Bond producers EON Productions confirmed his death, first reported by the BBC. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were “devastated by the news.”

“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond,’” they said in a statement.

The producers said Connery’s “gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent” was largely responsible for the success of the series.

The Scottish actor rose to international superstardom as the suave and fearless secret agent, first playing Bond in “Dr No” in 1962. After a further four films, he abandoned the role, before being enticed back to play him twice more, finally in 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.”

While he will be most remembered for his portrayal of Bond, Connery enjoyed a varied career, which included the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a tough Irish street cop in the 1987 movie “The Untouchables.”

He also had major roles in films including “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “Highlander” and “The Hunt for Red October.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken” at the news.

“Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons,” she said.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for services to film drama and in 2005 he was chosen for a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute.

Thomas Sean Connery was born Aug. 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the first of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a domestic worker.

He left school at age 13 during World War II to help support his family.

“I was a milkman, labourer, steel bender, cement mixer — virtually anything,” he said.

Weary of day labour, he joined the British navy and was medically discharged after three years. The ailment: stomach ulcers.

Back in Edinburgh, he lifted weights to build his body and compete in the Mr. Universe contest. He came in third, briefly considered becoming a professional soccer player, but chose acting because he reasoned his career would last longer.

READ MORE: James Bond film release pushed back due to coronavirus

He got his first big break singing and dancing to “There is Nothing Like a Dame” in “South Pacific” on the London stage and in a road production before going on to act in repertory, television and B movies.

He went to Hollywood for two early films, Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” and “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.”

When he decided to become an actor, he was told that Thomas Sean Connery wouldn’t fit on a theatre marquee so he dropped his first name.

Then came the audition that changed his life. American producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had bought the film rights to a string of post-World War II spy adventure novels by Ian Fleming.

Connery was not their first choice for “Dr. No.” The producers had looked to Cary Grant, but decided they wanted an actor would commit to a series. The producers also realized they couldn’t afford a big-name star because United Artists had limited their film budget to $1 million a picture, so they started interviewing more obscure British performers.

Among them was the 6-foot-2 Connery. Without a screen test, Broccoli and Saltzman chose the actor, citing his “dark, cruel good looks,” a perfect match for the way Fleming described Bond.

It’s the way many will always remember Bond.

For more news from B.C. and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Jill Lawless And Hillel Italie, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Arts and EntertainmentMoviesObituaries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak hits first Greater Victoria hospital

Island Health declares outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Athletes with Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s open men’s staff head out on a high-tech outrigger canoe. The club raised more than $16,500 at its 2020 Wetdasche event. (Courtesy of Fairway Gorge Paddling Club)
Victoria paddling group breaks fundraising record

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s 2020 Wetdashe event raises more than $16,500

Greater Victoria 4-H club member Sava Bell is all smiles holding some of the garden fresh ingredients he used to make his award-winning dish for the Field to Fork Challenge. (Courtesy Agriculture in the Classroom)
Greater Victoria 4-H members among winners in provincewide cooking competition

Field to Fork Challenge encourages B.C. youth to prepare healthy, local foods

Sipili Molia, regional kettle manager, shows off the Salvation Army’s new contactless donation system for the 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign outside municipal hall on Dec. 1. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Tech offers hope as Salvation Army sees need skyrocket across B.C.

Charity is equipping hundreds of kettles across B.C. with ‘touchless giving technology’

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by former Saanich resident surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read