Esteemed British actor Sean Connery, best known for bringing James Bond to the big screen, has died aged 90.
His death was confirmed by his family, after he passed away in his sleep while in the Bahamas. He had been unwell for some time.
The Edinburgh-born actor played Bond in seven films between 1962 and 1983: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again. He has edged out Richard Burton, Cary Grant and Rex Harrison for the Bond role.
It was exhausting and occasionally dangerous. At one point, he was thrown into a pool full of sharks with only a flexi-glass screen for protection. When one of the creatures got through, Connery beat the hastiest of retreats.
He turned down On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the role given to Australian actor George Lazenby, whose career never recovered.
In 1953, as a young bodybuilder he was in London competing in the Mr Universe competition. He heard that there were parts going in the chorus of a production of the musical, South Pacific. By the following year, he was playing the role of Lieutenant Buzz Adams, made famous on Broadway by Larry Hagman.
In 1957, he got his first leading role in Blood Money, a BBC TV reworking of Requiem for a Heavyweight, in which he portrayed a boxer whose career is in decline.
Numerous other roles would mark his career: Marnie, The Hunt for Red October, A Bridge Too Far, The Russia House, Entrapment, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Man Who Would Be King, The Rock, Murder on the Orient Express, The Name of the Rose, Highlander, The Presidio, Dragonheart but others like First Knight, Zardoz and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen failed to take off.
Aside from early television roles – in Sailor of Fortune, Women in Love, An Age of Kings, Without the Grail, Macbeth and Anna Karenina his career was almost entirely on the big screen.
Connery, who was previously married to Australian actress Diane Cilento, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and marked his 90th birthday in August.
He once said of performing, “I’m an actor – it’s not brain surgery. If I do my job right, people won’t ask for their money back.”