Sean Connery, best known for his hard-edged portrayal of British spy James Bond, has died at age 90.
While I enjoyed his turn as 007, my favorite movie of his is the space-western Outland.
Following his turn as Bond, he spend a lot of time trying to move beyond that, and toward the end of his career, it seemed that all too often he was playing Sean Connery more than he was playing a character.
In Outland he was far enough removed from Bond, but had not become an icon that directors under-used.
His role in the movie as a marshal was restrained and understated, and I particularly liked his interplay with Frances Sternhagen, and Peter Boyle, as always, gave a solid performance.
He will be missed:
Sean Connery, the Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of James Bond, has died aged 90. His son, Jason, said he had died peacefully in his sleep, having been “unwell for some time”.
He was admired by generations of film fans as the original and best 007, and went on to create a distinguished body of work in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, The Name of the Rose and The Untouchables.
Born Thomas Sean Connery in 1930, he grew up in the tough Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh and left school at 14 to work as a milkman for the Co-op. In 1948, he joined the Royal Navy, but was later discharged on medical grounds. He began bodybuilding aged 18, and got work as a life model, among many jobs, and entered the Mr Universe contest in 1953, though he did not win. Having been interested in acting for some time, Connery used his Mr Universe visit to London to audition for a stage version of South Pacific, and landed a role in the chorus.
But it was his casting, at the age of 30, in the first film adapted from Ian Fleming’s series of James Bond novels that cemented his screen status. Reportedly at the insistence of producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli’s wife, Dana, Connery got the role in Dr No over better known actors due to his “sex appeal”. Despite initial misgivings, Dr No was a huge success, not least because it had been produced, cautiously, on a comparatively low budget. Released in 1962, it was a hit in Britain, but also did well commercially in the US.
Connery went on to appear in four more Bond films in succession, between 1963 and 1967: From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and You Only Live Twice. His dramatically increased star status also allowed him to take films outside the series, notably the psychological thriller Marnie, for Alfred Hitchcock, and The Hill, a military-prison drama directed by Sidney Lumet. However, his increasing disenchantment at playing 007 saw him drop out of the next Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and he was replaced by George Lazenby. However, the Australian actor’s tenure lasted only for a single film, and Connery was lured back for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 with an enormous fee.
Throughout his career, Connery made no secret of his support for Scottish independence, and became a high-profile member of the Scottish National party, taking part in party political broadcasts in the 1990s and appearing alongside then-leader Alex Salmond. His politics reportedly led to the Scottish secretary Donald Dewar blocking plans for Connery’s knighthood in 1997, but the honour finally came three years later. However, as Connery had moved away from the UK in the mid-1970s, his substantial financial contributions to the SNP were ended after legislation disallowed funding from overseas residents.
So many of the figures from my youth seem to be leaving us these days.
Makes one think about one’s own mortality.