Born in: Fountainbridge, Edinburgh
Career: Actor and Producer
Sean (Shaun) Connery is an actor who is best known for playing the character of James Bond in the first six Bond films, apart from an unofficial one. Since being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, in July 2000, the actor is more popularly known as ‘Sir Thomas Sean Connery’. The excellent acting skills of Connery have won him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award till date. He has also been involved in production. Connery received the American Film Institute's ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in June 2006. Along with that, he has also been named as ‘one of the most attractive men alive’ by a number of magazines.
Sean Connery was born as ‘Thomas Connery’ on 25th August 1930, in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. He is the son of Joseph Connery, a factory worker and truck driver, and Euphamia C. "Effie", a cleaning woman. His father was a Roman Catholic of Irish descent, with roots in County Wexford. On the other hand, his mother was a Scottish Protestant. He got the middle name of Sean much before becoming an actor. As per him, he had an Irish friend Séamus and whenever he was seen with the latter, his other friends referred to him as ‘Sean’.
The first job that Connery indulged in was that with St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society, as a milkman. Thereafter, he joined the Royal Army and served there for sometime. However, a duodenal ulcer led to his discharge from the army, on medical grounds. He came back to the Co-operative Society and worked there for a while. After that, he undertook a number of odd jobs, including that of a lorry driver, a laborer, an artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art, coffin polisher and even bodybuilder.
Bitten by the Acting Bug
It was during a bodybuilding contest that Connery met Johnny Isaacs, a fellow competitor. It was Johnny who advised him to give an audition for a stage production of South Pacific. The audition served as his first step into the world of acting. From the stage, he went on to work for television and finally, made his appearance in films. His first American television role was as that of a porter in an episode of ‘The Jack Benny Show’. He also had a significant role in Rudolph Cartier's 1961 production of Anna Karenina, for BBC Television
The film career of Sean Connery started in 1954, with the movie ‘Lilacs in the Spring’. However, his role was uncredited. His next film ‘No Road Back’ came three years later, in 1957. It was followed by ‘Hell Drivers’, ‘Action of the Tiger’ and ‘Time Lock’, which were released the same year. None of them, however, starred him in a major role. It was with ‘Another Time, Another Place’ (1958) that Connery was seen playing the lead role. For the next couple of years, he appeared in a number of films, none of which was a major success.
The first major film of Connery’s career, and the movie that would make him famous throughout the world, was Dr No, the first James Bond flick. Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli were the ones who discovered Connery for the role, with the main reason being the low budget of the film. It was director Terence Young who can be given the credit for polishing Connery and making him look just right for the role. The success of Dr No was followed by the release of the other Bond films
The films included ‘From Russia with Love’ (1963), ‘Goldfinger’ (1964), ‘Thunderball’ (1965) and ‘You Only Live Twice’ (1967). In 1967, after getting tired of repetitive plots and a lack of character development, Connery decided to quit the Bond series soon. His final official appearance as ‘James Bond’ was in the movie titled ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, which came out in the year 1971. Finally, he bid adieu to James Bond with and Never Say Never Again, a 1983 release and an unofficial film.
Film Career Other Than and After James Bond
Even while being a part of the James Bond series, Connery appeared in a number of other flicks. These include ‘Marnie’, ‘Woman of Straw’, ‘The Hill Trooper’, ‘A Fine Madness’, ‘Shalako’, ‘The Molly Maguires’, ‘The Red Tent’, ‘The Anderson Tapes’, etc. After his last official appearance as James Bond, Connery managed to maintain a pretty successful career. Amongst his most successful after-Bond movies were ‘The Man Who Would Be King’, 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'A Bridge Too Far', 'The Wind and the Lion' and 'Time Bandits' (supporting role).
Connery’s next, very successful movie was ‘The Name of the Rose’, which won him the BAFTA Award for the best actor. The same year (1986), he was applauded for his role in ‘Highlander’. The next critical acclaim came for him with ‘The Untouchables’. The movie got him an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe for ‘Best Supporting Actor’. His subsequent box-office hits include 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (1989), 'The Hunt for Red October' (1990),'The Russia House' (1990), 'The Rock' (1996) and 'Entrapment' (1999). He was last seen in ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ (2003).
Connery married Diane Cilento, an Australian-born actress, in the year 1962. The couple separated eleven years later, in 1973. In 1975, Sean Connery married Micheline Roquebrune, French artist, now the grandmother of French television journalist Stéphanie Renouvin. From his first marriage, Connery has a son, Jason Connery (born 11th January 1963), who is also involved in acting. Jason married actress Mia Sara and the couple had a son in the year 1997, making Connery a grandfather.
1954 - Lilacs in the Spring (uncredited)
1957 - No Road Back, Hell Drivers, Action of the Tiger, Time Lock
1958 - Another Time, Another Place, A Night to Remember (uncredited)
1959 - Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Tarzan's Greatest Adventur
1961 - On the Fiddle, The Frightened City
1962 - The Longest Day, Dr. No
1963 - From Russia with Love
1964 - Marnie, Woman of Straw, Goldfinger
1965 - The Hill Trooper, Thunderball
1966 - A New World Himself (cameo), A Fine Madness
1967 - You Only Live Twice
1968 - Shalako
1969 - The Bowler and the Bonnet Himself (Director)
1970 - The Molly Maguires
1971 - The Red Tent, The Anderson Tapes, Diamonds Are Forever
1972 - A Spain Golf Course
1973 - The Offence
1974 - Zardoz, Murder on the Orient Express
1975 - Ransom, The Dream Factory, The Wind and the Lion, The Man Who Would Be King
1976 - Robin and Marian
1976 - The Next Man
1977 - A Bridge Too Far
1979 - The First Great Train Robbery, Meteor, Cuba
1981 - Outland, Time Bandits
1982 - G'ole! (Documentary), Five Days One Summer, Wrong Is Right
1983 - Sean Connery's Edinburgh, Never Say Never Again
1984 - Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
1986 - Highlander, The Name of the Rose (BAFTA Award)
1987 The Untouchables (Academy Award & Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor)
1988 - The Presidio
1989 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Family Business
1990 - The Hunt for Red October, The Russia House
1991 - Highlander II: The Quickening, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (uncredited)
1992 - Medicine Man
1993 - Rising Sun (also executive producer)
1994 - A Good Man in Africa
1995 - The Thief and the Cobbler Tack (voice), Just Cause (also executive producer), First Knight
1996 - Dragonheart (voice), The Rock (also executive producer)
1998 - The Avengers, Playing by Heart
1999 - Entrapment (also producer)
2000 - Finding Forrester
2003 - The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
2006 - Sir Billi the Vet