It was reported today that Sir Sean Connery died at the age of 90. He will forever be remembered as the original James Bond, playing a pivotal role in launching the pop culture phenomenon that is still going strong today. As a lifelong Bond fan, I’m thankful for his immeasurable contributions to the series. Moreover, I appreciate Sean Connery for the countless roles he played outside of 007. He wasn’t a one-trick pony. Rather, this skilled Scottish actor was a chameleon who could embody a wide range of characters that swept us away with wonderful stories for nearly 60 years.
James Bond is the role that Sean Connery is best known for playing, and this isn’t surprising as he took on this challenge in a way that captivated millions of people worldwide. It may be surprising to some to hear that he was reluctant to commit to the film series. It’s understandable. Who would want to be typecast? In total, Sean Connery starred in seven James Bond films, including the first five in the series: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967). He also returned as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983), the latter of which isn’t part of the official Bond canon. It’s a remake of Thunderball, produced by Kevin McClory, who was part of the original Thunderball production, and it went head-to-head at the box office with Roger Moore’s Octopussy. It was the battle of the Bonds! While Roger Moore’s film came out on top, it was still a delight seeing Sean Connery take on the role of 007 one last time.
According to IMDB, Sean Connery has taken part in 424 productions, including 94 as an actor. From 1984’s The Untouchables to 1996’s The Rock, he remained relevant decade after decade. Winning both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his role in The Untouchables, Sean Connery proved that he was anything but a typecast actor.
Many fan remember him fondly in The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Finding Forrester (2000). Whether you enjoyed his work in fun romps like Entrapment (2000) with Catherine Zeta-Jones or as Juan Sánchez-Villalobos Ramírez in the 1986 cult classic Highlander, this magnificent actor provided us all with something to love.
One of Sean Connery’s overlooked gems is 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Starring as Allan Quatermain, Sean Connery’s charm and skill steal every scene he’s in. It’s definitely one to revisit, as we celebrate his storied life and exemplary career in cinema.
One of the most memorable Sean Connery roles for me is him playing the father of Indiana Jones in 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. When reflecting on Connery’s contributions to the film, Harrison Ford said in a Variety interview, “It was amazing for me in how far he got into the script and went after exploiting opportunities for character. His suggestions to George [Lucas] at the writing stage really gave the character and the picture a lot more complexity and value than it had in the original screenplay.”
For an actor of Sean Connery’s stature to be associated with two blockbuster franchises is spectacular. Not many actors can say that. If you’re lucky, you’ll be part of one. He played a key role in two of the most beloved and influential movies series of all time, making it clear that he’s an actor like no other.
Sean Connery’s work will never die. He lived a long and productive life, providing us with some of the greatest films in the history of cinema. His contributions to an industry that so many of us love will never be forgotten. While I will always think of him first as “Bond, James Bond,” I will continue to revel in the diverse and expansive body of work that is his lasting legacy.