Sean Connery, the Academy Award-winning actor who, among his dozens of stage and screen credits, played secret agent James Bond in seven films between 1962 and 1983, is dead. The BBC reports that Connery died in his sleep while in the Bahamas; according to his son, Jason, Connery had been “unwell for some time.” He was 90.
Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1930, the son of a cleaning woman and factory worker. He joined the Royal Navy as a young man but was discharged on medical grounds for a recurring ulcer problem. After a variety of odd jobs (including lifeguard, artist’s model, and coffin polisher), Connery began working backstage at King’s Theater in 1951. Two years later during a bodybuilding competition—another of Connery’s early youthful passions—a fellow competitor mentioned theater auditions taking place that week, and Connery ended up joining the traveling production of South Pacific as a member of the chorus. Over the next few years, Connery worked in both the theater and netting small roles in film and television, starting as an extra and working his way up to small speaking roles, before landing larger turns in movies like Another Time, Another Place and the Disney film Darby O’Gill And The Little People.
Connery rocketed to fame following his star turn in the first James Bond film, Dr. No, in 1962. He played the British spy in his next four cinematic outings—From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice—as well as two subsequent installments, Diamonds Are Forever and (12 years after Diamonds) Never Say Never Again. (It was on the troubled production of that last film that Connery suffered a broken wrist, an injury caused by the fight choreographer—Steven Seagal, of all people.) During that time, he also starred in films like Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie, John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King, and Murder On The Orient Express.
In 1987, Sean Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables alongside Kevin Costner. This was followed by a string of high-profile hits, including Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, The Hunt For Red October, The Rock, and Entrapment. Unfortunately, a string of box-office and critical disappointments ending with 2003’s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen led to Connery’s subsequent decision to retire from acting, an announcement he made official in 2006.