Sean Connery, who epitomised the suave yet cold-hearted spy James Bond in seven iconic thrillers and won several awards, including one Oscar, has passed away aged 90, his family said on Saturday.
Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2000, the Edinburgh-born Connery took up odd jobs in early years and appeared in some films, before James Bond happened. His dialogue, “Bond, James Bond”, defined his portrayal of the spy, widely considered the best among actors who played the iconic role.
The seven films Connery appeared as James Bond are: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).
Born Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930, he was the son of a factory worker and a domestic cleaner. His initial years were difficult, working as a coffin polisher, delivering milk and briefly joining the Royal Navy.
Connery took to bodybuilding and worked as a model at the Edinburgh College of Art. He briefly played for Manchester United, but driven by the acting bug, took to the stage. He was noticed while participating in the 1953 Mr Universe competition.
One of his first appearances was as an extra in the 1954 film, Lilacs in the Spring, before he got his first lead role in Blood Money (1954). Then James Bond happened, with Connery selected to play the lead in Dr No, after other actors such as Cary Grant and Richard Burton were considered.
His other notable films included The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.
Connery was married twice; first to Australian actress Diane Cilento, and then to Moroccan-French painter Micheline Roqubrune. He was a member of the Scottish National Party that seeks independence for Scotland, and funded it until 2001.