Sean Connery: 10 fascinating facts about the James Bond actor

31 October 2020, 12:54 | Updated: 31 October 2020, 13:51

Sean Connery
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

He was the first man to utter those immortal words on screen: "The name's Bond... James Bond."

Sean Connery was one of Scotland's finest ever exports, and sadly passed away at the age of 90 in October 2020.

Here are all the big and important facts about the cinema icon.

  1. What are Sean Connery's biggest movies (apart from James Bond)?

    Sean Connery in The Untouchables
    Sean Connery in The Untouchables. Picture: Paramount

    Outside his James Bond work, Sean appeared in a variety of films. He was known for playing Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables (1987), for which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, along with his roles of Mark Rutland in Marnie (1964), Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez in Highlander (1986), Henry Jones Sr in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Captain Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius in The Hunt for Red October (1990), and Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003).

    Read more: Sean Connery's cover of 'In My Life' by The Beatles is incredible and very poignant

    Other films include Zardoz, Murder on the Orient Express, The Man Who Would Be King, A Bridge Too Far, Time Bandits, The Name of the Rose, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Dragonheart, The Rock and Entrapment.

    His first official film role was 1957's No Road Back.

  2. Which James Bond movies did he star in?

    Sean Connery
    Picture: Getty

    Sean Connery was the first man to play James Bond, starting with 1961's Dr No.

    His other Bond movies were: From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever.

    He also returned as Bond in the unofficial film Never Say Never Again in 1983.

    Read more: Who will be the next James Bond after Daniel Craig?

    Connery's hiring as James Bond was largely down to Dana Broccoli, wife of producer Cubby Broccoli, who is reported to have been instrumental in persuading her husband that Connery was the right choice.

    Bond creator Ian Fleming initially doubted Connery's casting, saying, "He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks", and "I'm looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stuntman". Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr No premiere. He was so impressed, that he created a half-Scottish, half-Swiss heritage for Bond in later novels.

  3. What did Sean Connery do in later life?

    When Sean Connery received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, he confirmed his retirement from acting.

    In 2007, he denied rumours that he would appear in the fourth Indiana Jones film, saying that "retirement is just too much damned fun".

    His most recent role was providing his voice for the 2012 animated movie Sir Billi, for which he also executive produced.

    Read more: Where is George Lazenby now?

    He was rarely seen in public in later years, with one of the most recent occasions being when he took a stroll after visiting a barbers in New York in May 2017.

  4. Who was Sean Connery's wife?

    Sean Connery and Micheline Roquebrune in 2006
    Sean Connery and Micheline Roquebrune in 2006. Picture: Getty

    Connery was married to actress Diane Cilento from 1962 to 1973. She passed away at the age of 78 in 2011.

    He was married to Moroccan-French painter Micheline Roquebrune, who was one year older than him, since 1975.

  5. How many children did Sean Connery have?

    Sean Connery
    Sean Connery with wife Micheline Roquebrune and son Jason Connery in 2008. Picture: Getty

    Sean Connery had one child with his first wife, actor Jason Connery, who was born in 1963.

    He is best known for appearing in the third series of the ITV drama Robin of Sherwood in 1986.

  6. What is Sean Connery's real name?

    Sean Connery's actual name is Thomas Sean Connery. He was named Thomas after his grandfather.

    His mother, Euphemia McBain 'Effie' (née McLean), was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and lorry driver.

  7. What is Sean Connery's net worth?

    Sean Connery's net worth is said to be around £91.5 million ($120m), according to The Richest.

  8. What jobs did Sean Connery have before becoming an actor?

    Sean Connery
    Picture: Getty

    Sean Connery's first job was as a milkman in Edinburgh with St Cuthbert's Co-operative Society.

    He then joined the Royal Navy, during which time he got two tattoos. One tattoo is a tribute to his parents and reads 'Mum and Dad,' and the other simply says: 'Scotland Forever.'

    After being discharged, he returned to the co-op, then worked as a lorry driver, a lifeguard at Portobello swimming baths, a labourer, an artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art, and a coffin polisher.

    Connery began bodybuilding aged 18, and from 1951 trained with Ellington, a former gym instructor in the British army. While his official website claims he was third in the 1950 Mr Universe contest, most sources place him in the 1953 competition, either third in the Junior class or failing to place in the Tall Man classification.

  9. Was Sean Connery a footballer?

    Sean Connery was a keen footballer, and played for Bonnyrigg Rose in his younger days. He was also offered a trial with East Fife.

    While on tour with South Pacific, Connery played in a football match against a local team that Matt Busby, manager of Manchester United, was scouting.

    Busby was apparently impressed with his physical prowess, and offered Connery a contract worth £25 a week immediately after the game.

    While he was tempted, he later said: "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."

  10. Was Sean Connery almost in Lord of the Rings?

    Sean Connery was offered a role in The Lord of the Rings film series, declining it because he was "not understanding the script".

    CNN reported that he was offered up to 15% of the worldwide box office receipts to play Gandalf, which - had he accepted - could have earned him as much as $400 million for the trilogy.