Legendary Scottish actor Sean Connery, who shot to fame playing James Bond, has passed away. He was 90.
His death was confirmed by his family, according to the BBC, which notes that the actor died in his sleep while in the Bahamas. He had been unwell for some time, according to variety.com.
Connery, long regarded as one of the best actors to have portrayed the iconic spy, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and marked his 90th birthday only in August.
He rose to fame when he played the role of James Bond in seven films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Love Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).
“After an interview with producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, he landed the role without a screen test, according to Saltzman. It was a controversial choice at the time, as Connery was an unknown outside Britain. But 1962’s “Dr. No,” the first of the Bond films, made him an international star,” Variety reported.
“His stature grew with the ever more popular sequels “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball,” which arrived over the next four years. Bond gave Connery a license to earn; he was paid only $30,000 for “Dr. No” but $400,000 for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie” and was soon getting $750,000 a film.
“His initial efforts to break out of the Bond mold, however, proved fruitless. Films like “A Fine Madness,” “Shalako” and “The Molly Maguires” were well-intentioned attempts that did nothing to shake Connery as Bond from the public consciousness. After 1967’s “You Only Live Twice,” he left the Bond franchise, but he was coaxed back for 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever.” He looked old for the role, and the series seemed tired, so with that, he left Bond behind — though money would tempt him back once last time in 1983 for “Never Say Never Again.”
In 1988, Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Untouchables.”
Connery also starred in other memorable movies such as “The Wind and the Lion,” “The Man Who Would Be King,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” etc.
People magazine voted him as the “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1989 and the “Sexiest Man of the Century” in 1999.