Who is the epitome of James Bond

Sean Connery is dead

In any case, his star role was not given to him: Connery first had to prevail against Bond author and "snob" Ian Fleming. Fleming would have preferred to see a "man of stature" in the role of his successful agent 007, David Niven or Cary Grant, rather than a Scottish television actor who came from the working class. Connery's father was a truck driver, his mother was a cleaning lady and Connery himself, born on August 25, 1930, had supported his family in his early years with jobs as a milk supplier and lifeguard. And such a man should now give the urbane seducer?

In a TV interview quoted by the British Express, Connery said in 2008: “I was not introduced to Fleming for a long time, and I knew he did not agree with me. I learned that he referred to me as an 'overrated stuntman' to others. When I finally met him personally, I found him to be an interesting and educated snob. With the emphasis on snob. "

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Scottish roots for Mister Bond

But the "snob" was wrong. The then 32-year-old Connery, who had been preferred to other actors because he was cheap, made the Bond project a global success. After the premiere of the first film, “James Bond - 007, Dr. No ”(1962) not only accepted Fleming Connery, he even integrated his biography into his next novel,“ You Only Live Twice ”, in which he gave Bond Scottish ancestors.

The image of the mischievous seducer would cling to Connery all his life, even when he decided to take off the artificial hairpiece he had worn on all Bond shoots and appear "topless". For example in the film adaptation of the Umberto Eco novel “The Name of the Rose”, which was released in 1986. With a robe and tonsure, Connery (as a Franciscan monk William of Baskerville) was seen here in one of the more serious roles he was looking for in the later years of his career.

Mini scandal on the Oscar stage

In 1988 Connery was awarded his first and only Oscar for the role of gangster hunter Jimmy Malone in "The Untouchables". In the run-up, there had been rumors of physical violence between director Brian de Palma and Connery, who was notorious for his outbursts of anger.

Connery seemed to make fun of these rumors on Oscar night. He dedicated his acceptance speech with a meaningful smile to "all his friends and the few enemies". Be that as it may, almost everyone in the hall rose to standing ovations, which were probably less about the supporting actor from de Palma's film than about long-time Bond actor Connery.

Even today, few people associate the name Connery with film classics outside of the Bond series. It is often forgotten that he was not only seen as 007 in the 1960s, but also as a character actor: as a rebellious prisoner in Sidney Lumet's anti-war film "The Hill" ("A heap of mad dogs", 1965) or as a violent husband in Alfred Hitchcock's psychological thriller "Marnie" (1964). Film partner Tippi Hedren is said to have named her cat after Connery after the "Marnie" shoot, which was not particularly pleasant for her - only Hedren herself knows whether as an homage or a joke.

Flogging allegations from ex-wife

In private, Connery is said to have behaved anything but correct towards women. In an interview with “Playboy” in 1965 he even spoke out openly in favor of violence against women: “An open-handed slap is justified. If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I'd do it " do it. ”) Connery's first wife, Diane Cilento, also raised accusations of beatings against her ex-husband in her autobiography, which he denied to the end.

Fighters for Scottish Independence

Despite such allegations, Queen Elizabeth II raised Sean Connery to the knighthood on July 5, 2000, which did not prevent "Sir Connery" from continuing to campaign for Scottish independence. He still had a tattoo on his right forearm from his time in the British Navy: a heart pierced by a sword, with the words "Scotland forever" written on it. In March 2003 the Patriot announced that he would not set foot on Scottish soil again until the country broke away from England.

After filming The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003, Connery announced that he would be retiring. He had previously relocated the center of his life to Marbella, Spain, next to a golf course, where he pursued his favorite sport every day. After various arguments with the local press, he and his wife Micheline moved again in 1999, this time to the tax haven of the Bahamas. Many Scottish compatriots resented this move, even if the billionaire Connery assured him to pay taxes properly at home.

In the last years of his life, Connery's public appearances became increasingly rare: the last time he was seen by paparazzi at the US Tennis Open 2017. The 87-year-old's face was touched and delighted when the Bond theme was alluded to in the stadium in his honor. In New York, Connery received multiple treatments for various cancers.

"The world will miss him"

Connery's death caused consternation around the world. "I will miss him. Scotland will miss him. The world will miss him, ”said Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon. He hadn't felt well in a while, explained his son Jason Connery. "A sad day for everyone who knew and loved my father, and people all over the world who enjoyed his wonderful talent as an actor."

Maya McKechneay, for ORF.at

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