Best Known For
Oscar-winning Scottish actor Sean Connery played "007" in the first James Bond spy movies. He also played the Indiane Jones's father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Sean Connery - Dr. No (0:00)
Sean Connery - Legacy (2:03)
After producer Albert Broccoli bought the rights to Ian Flemings’ novel" Dr. No," budgets led them to search for an unknown to play the part of James Bond.
Sean Connery has become one of the most recognized and sought after actors in Hollywood and around the world.
In 1987, Sean Connery received an Academy Award for his portrayal of a hard-nosed cop in Brian De Palma’s film, "The Untouchables." His performance would gain him not one, but two standing ovations at the Oscars.
Determined to distance himself from the Bond franchise, Sean Connery began to explore new content, including the historical epic "The Man Who Would Be King."
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For months, he skimped and saved every shilling to become a member of the Dunedin Weightlifting Club. "It was not so much to be fit but to look good for the girls," he once admitted. The local ladies were impressed—but so were his fellow gym mates, who nominated him for the Mr. Universe contest. So, in 1953, Connery traveled the nine hours to London, where the competitions were held. He boldly introduced himself to the contest judges as "Mr. Scotland,
" pointedly flexing the ample muscles on his 6-foot 2-inch frame. He was chosen third in the tall men's division and given a medal—but that wasn't all. A local casting director in attendance liked the hammy Scottish kid and asked him to join the chorus of a new musical, South Pacific, playing on Drury Lane, in London's theater district. "I didn't have a voice, couldn't dance," Connery admitted. "But I could look good standing there."
One rehearsal was all it took: "I decided then and there to make acting my career." He chose the stage name "Sean Connery" because Sean, besides being his middle name, reminded him of his favorite movie hero, Shane. "It seemed to go more with my image than Tom or Tommy," he recalled. "Sean Connery" was listed as a chorus member in the South Pacific program.
Over the next few years, Connery was cast in numerous films and television programs, including a much-acclaimed BBC staging of Requiem for a Heavyweight. But his lack of education worried him. "I decided I didn't want people to think of me as some lout," he confessed. So began reading the classics, including Proust, Tolstoy, and Joyce—"all the books I skipped when I was in school." The book-learning, however, did not soften his street instincts. In 1957, while filming Another Time, Another Place with Lana Turner, Connery was involved in a brawl on the set. The Hollywood tabloids reported that he and Turner were having an affair, and her boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, stormed onto the set waving a gun. Connery responded with a quick right hook.
Connery liked the reputation of being a rugged ladies' man. But that changed in August 1957 when, while filming a TV show for Britain's ATV Playhouse, he met a beautiful blond Australian actress named Diane Cilento. She was married at the time, but Connery's attraction to her was undeniable. Smart and sexy, she taught him "the most amazing acting techniques" in the privacy of her dressing room.
At first Cilento felt nothing for her castmate except friendship: "He seemed like a man with a tremendous chip on his shoulder," she remarked. In 1959, just as Connery's career was taking off, Cilento contracted tuberculosis, and the actor realized how devastated he would be if he lost her. He turned down a big break in the Charlton Heston film El Cid to be close to her while she recovered. The decision didn't hurt his career; in fact, Twentieth-Century Fox studios came calling with a contract, and Connery made several films in Hollywood.
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