A very happy birthday to Sir Sean Connery, who was born 88 years ago today in Edinburgh, Scotland. While the world knows him as super-spy James Bond, codenamed 007, we know him from other roles. Allan Quartermain. Professor Henry Jones, Sr. Draco. King Arthur. King Richard the Lionhearted. Ramirez. The Green Knight. Agamemnon. Paul Bradley. Robin Hood. Zed. Marshall William T. O’Niel. Michael McBride.
Thomas Sean Connery was born and raised in Edinburgh in a working-class family. His father was a lorry driver and a factory worker, his mother was a cleaning woman, and he himself drove a milk cart before enlisting in the Royal Navy at the age of 16. When he returned to Edinburgh after three years in the navy, he worked as a lorry driver, a bricklayer, an artist’s model, a coffin polisher, and other odd jobs. His hobby of body-building led to representing Scotland in the 1953 Mr. Universe competition, which led to his acting career. From these humble roots came one of the most popular actors in the world today. In 1999 he was voted the Sexiest Man of the Century, in 2000 Queen Elizabeth knighted him for his service to film drama, and in 2011 a poll voted him Scotland’s Greatest Living Treasure.
“There are seven genuine movie stars in the world today, and Sean is one of them.” Steven Spielberg
Walt Disney gave Sir Sean one of his first starring roles as Michael McBride in Darby O’Gill and the Little People. This 1959 movie is one of the few roles where he sings. In 1962 he played James Bond, and Hollywood history was made. He starred in his first science fiction film in 1974, as Zed in Zardoz. It is not considered one of his better films and is best known for the weird costume he wore.
With Sir Roger Moore replacing him as James Bond, Sir Sean went on to other roles. He played an aging Robin Hood in Robin and Marian. (His real life son, Jason Connery, would later play Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood, replacing Michael Praed). He performed in the science fiction movies Meteor as Dr. Paul Bradley, Outland as Marshall William T. O’Niel, and Time Bandits as Agamemnon. He then moved on to some of his most popular roles in fantasy films: the Green Knight in Sword of the Valiant: the Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Ramirez in Highlander, and Professor Henry Jones, Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Of course, there were also movies that straddled the border between science fiction and fantasy. In The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, he played H. Rider Haggard’s “great white hunter” Allan Quartermain. In The Avengers (1998 spy movie, not 2012 superhero movie) he was the villainous Sir August de Wynter.
Sir Sean is also noted for his voicework as Draco in Dragonheart and Sir William Sedgewick in Sir Billi. For a list of some of his best work in non-science fiction and fantasy films, check this article from Gold Derby.
Sir Sean has retired from acting. He is passionately involved with the cause of Scottish independence and is a firm supporter of the Scottish National Party. He currently resides in the Bahamas; he has pledged not to return to Scotland until it is an independent nation. He is co-founder of the Scottish International Educational Trust and one of its major donors.
Sir Sean is an enthusiastic football fan (soccer to us Yanks), especially of the Rangers F. C. from Glasgow. He himself played for Bonnyrigg Rose A. F. C. in his younger days and was offered a contract by Manchester United. Although the prestige of playing for one of Great Britain’s premier football teams (not to mention the money) certainly tempted him, he turned down the opportunity. “I realised that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”
Sir Sean Connery has been married twice. He and actress Australian Diane Cilento (Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left, Tom Jones) were married in 1962 and divorced in 1973. They had one child, actor Jason Connery (Alien Strain, Trollz, Robin of Sherwood), who is the father of Sir Sean’s only grandson, Dashiell Connery (Pandemic). Since 1975, Sir Sean has been married to French artist Micheline Roquebrune.
From Krypton Radio and your millions of fans around the world, Sir Sean, Happy 88th Birthday!