Sunday Mirror

Li­cence to thrill

Tributes to Sir Sean Con­nery, dead at 90

- BY JULIE McCAFFR McCAF­FREY Celebrity Inventors · Celebrities · Russia · Sean Connery · Ian Fleming · Hollywood · Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade · Indiana · Edinburgh · Fettes College · Royal Navy · Scotland · Edinburgh College of Art · London · Arnold Schwarzenegger · Manchester United F.C. · Manchester · William Shakespeare · Charles Dickens · Lana Turner · Royal Academy of Dramatic Art · Gibraltar · Nigeria · Eton College · Indiana Jones · Fountainbridge · Royal Navy · Portsmouth F.C. · Portsmouth · George V · Marcel Proust · Tolstoi · Ernest Hemingway · Macbeth · Diane Cilento · Ursula Andress · Terence Young · Millicent Martin


With his smoul­der­ing me­nace, rugged ru sex ap­peal and growl­ing Scots brogu brogue, Sean Con­nery was not the Mr Bond Bo that writer Ian Flem­ing had been ex­pect­ing.

Yet his sharp in­tel­li­gence and so­phis­ti­cated swa swag­ger trans­formed the dull pub­lic s school spy into a Hol­ly­wood leg­end legen – and turned Con­nery into a su­per­star. sup

And while the a ac­tor’s own back­ground was no­tice­ably no­tice short of fast cars, beau­ti­ful wo women and vodka Mar­ti­nis – ei­ther shaken or stirred – for many he was the de­fin­i­tive 007.

Con­nery, who ha has died in his sleep aged 90, played Ja James Bond seven times be­tween 1962 196 and 1983 – star­ring in Dr. No, From F Rus­sia With Love, Goldfin­ger, Goldfin Thun­der­ball and You O Only Live Twice, then re repris­ing his role in Di­a­monds Are For­ever and Never Say Never Again. His ca­reer in en­ter­tain­ment spanned seven decades, with his role as the deadly lothario lead­ing on to films in­clud­ing High­lander, The Un­touch­ables, and In­di­ana Jones And The Last Cru­sade – in which he played Indy’s fa­ther, Prof Henry Jones.

But while his later roles were more crit­i­cally ac­claimed, it is his li­cence to kill that he will be best re­mem­bered for.

Born Thomas Sean Con­nery in 1930 to rub­ber mill worker Joe, 26, and laun­dress Euphemia, 20, his early years were spent in the Foun­tain­bridge area of Ed­in­burgh.

Their flat had no hot wa­ter or bath­room and was on the “street of a thou­sand smells” – where the stench of a nearby rub­ber mill and sev­eral brew­eries hung in the air. His child­hood pas­sion was foot­ball – dur­ing his years at Brunts­field Pri­mary School, he kicked a foot­ball all the way there and all the way back home. De­spite be­ing ac­cepted to Bor­ough­muir High School – known for high achiev­ers – he switched to Dar­roch Se­condary be­cause they played foot­ball in­stead of rugby.

But at 13, Con­nery left school to be­come a milk de­liv­ery boy – the dairy’s youngest ever to get his own cart and pony.

He once said of his de­ci­sion: “I couldn’t see the point of re­turn­ing to school. I wasn’t learn­ing much. I wanted to work, earn money and play soc­cer.”

Iron­i­cally, one stop on his round was posh Fettes School – the school at­tended by Bond in Ian Flem­ing’s

School..? I wanted to work, earn money and play soc­cer SEAN CON­NERY ON HIS FIRST JOB AT AGE OF 13

It was my in­abil­ity to take or­ders that gave me ul­cers SEAN CON­NERY ON HAV­ING TO LEAVE NAVY

nov­els. Con­nery’s pride in his first full-time job as a ju­nior horse­man with the St Cuth­bert’s Co-op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety dairy never left him. He said: “I re­mem­ber that day so well.

“Years later, as a fledg­ling ac­tor when I be­gan to read scripts se­ri­ously and study plays, I tried to re­cap­ture the emo­tions of the first day I left home to trot my own milk cart out of the dairy into the Ed­in­burgh dawn.”

Al­though known to many by his mid­dle name Sean, in his younger years he was Tommy.

A growth spurt saw him reach his full height of 6ft 2in at 16, earn­ing him the nick­name “Big Tam” among friends at Saughton Park, where he played foot­ball ev­ery evening.

Al­though happy in his job, at 17 he had an “ever- in­creas­ing de­sire to ex­pe­ri­ence the wider world” and signed up as a Royal Navy Vol­un­teer.

Dur­ing train­ing in Portsmouth he car­ried out the naval rit­ual of get­ting tat­tooed. Con­nery said: “In­stead of the erotic fan­tasies favoured by many, I chose to have ‘Mum and Dad’ and ‘Scot­land For­ever’ on my right arm.

“Al­though now much faded, they still evoke mem­o­ries of life at home and my pas­sion for the old coun­try.”

Two years later, he was an able sea­man on HMS King Ge­orge V.

But af­ter he devel­oped stom­ach ul­cers he spent eight weeks in Royal Hos­pi­tal Haslar and was dis­charged with a 20 per cent dis­abil­ity pen­sion.

He re­called: “I’ve never had ul­cers since. Look­ing back, it was prob­a­bly my in­abil­ity to take or­ders from the of­fi­cers – es­pe­cially those I found had reached their po­si­tion largely through priv­i­lege – that gave me ul­cers.”

Back in Ed­in­burgh, his next few years were spent flit­ting be­tween jobs. His first, as a French pol­isher, saw him smooth­ing and shin­ing coffins which, he said, “al­ways struck me as a real waste of time”.

To earn ex­tra money, Con­nery posed in skimpy briefs for stu­dents at Ed­in­burgh Col­lege of Art.

Richard Demarco, now a ma­jor force in Scot­tish art, re­calls him from his stu­dent days, say­ing he was “very straight, slightly shy, too beau­ti­ful for words, a vir­tual Ado­nis”.

Con­nery’s mod­el­ling led on to body­build­ing – he even en­tered the 1953 Mr Uni­verse con­test in London.

But he said: “De­spite what many claim, I never won any awards. I ap­peared ridicu­lous next to the even­tual win­ner, an Amer­i­can called Bill Pearl, with a physique like Arnold Schwarzene­gger.

“Be­side him I looked like a seven- stone weak­ling.” But while he got no tro­phy,

Con­nery did win the op­por­tu­nity of his life at the Mr Uni­verse tour­na­ment.

A fel­low com­peti­tor told him of cast­ings be­ing held for a Bri­tish run of the mu­si­cal South Pa­cific, and all he had to do was look like an Amer­i­can and do a cou­ple of hand­springs.

Con­nery won a role, which in­volved cut­ting up wood on stage be­fore leap­ing up and singing “There is Noth­ing Like a Dame”.

He said: “Since they were guar­an­tee­ing £12 a week – which was as much as I’d ever earned – I signed up for the two-year na­tional tour.

“I had no am­bi­tion then to be an ac­tor. It was purely the money and the fun that got me hooked.”

Yet Con­nery’s act­ing ca­reer came close to get­ting de­railed even be­fore it

prop­erly be­gan. Dur­ing the theatre tour, the ac­tors formed a South Pa­cific XI foot­ball team – and played Manchester United’s ju­nior squad.

The club’s leg­endary man­ager Matt Busby watched the match and in­vited Con­nery for a trial.

Con­nery said: “My af­fec­tion for the theatre took a sud­den swerve stage-left to a soc­cer field’s left wing. Could I still be that foot­baller of my dreams?”

But a South Pa­cific col­league, Robert Hen­der­son, kept him on the right path. Con­nery re­called: “The ad­vice this re­mark­able man gave me would change my life.”

Hen­der­son told him sagely: “If you choose soc­cer you may have an­other 10 years, but as an ac­tor you could go on till you drop.

“But if you choose act­ing you have two real prob­lems. The first con­cern is your near-im­pen­e­tra­ble

Scots burr. Sec­ondly, you have to ed­u­cate your­self.”

It was a key turn­ing point in Con­nery’s life. De­cid­ing he wanted to make act­ing his ca­reer, he showed his char­ac­ter­is­tic drive by throw­ing all his en­er­gies into it.

He set about hon­ing ev­ery­thing from his voice, vo­cab­u­lary and lit­er­ary knowl­edge to his phys­i­cal move­ments.

First, af­ter hear­ing that his fel­low cast mem­ber Mil­li­cent Martin had thought he was Pol­ish, he set about soften­ing the rough edges of his ac­cent.

Con­nery once ex­plained: “I bought a reel- to- reel Grundig tape recorder to hear for my­self how heav­ily ac­cented my voice re­ally was. I prac­tised ar­tic­u­lat­ing my words more dis­tinctly.

“Yet at the same time I wanted to re­tain the per­son­al­ity of my own voice and be true to my Ed­in­burgh roots.”

His men­tor Hen­der­son also gave Con­nery a hefty read­ing list – in­clud­ing Shake­speare, Dick­ens, Proust, Tol­stoy and Ernest Hem­ing­way.

He bor­rowed stacks of books from li­braries as he toured, as he could not af­ford to buy them. As well as in­creas­ing his vo­cab­u­lary, the breadth of his new-found knowl­edge boosted his self­es­teem and con­fi­dence.

When the run of South Pa­cific ended, he landed bit parts to de­velop his craft.

Then in 1957 came Con­nery’s first ma­jor role – as Moun­tain McClin­tock in the BBC’s box­ing play Re­quiem for a Heavy­weight.

Thanks to his Navy-learned box­ing prow­ess, cast­ing agents strug­gled to find any­one will­ing to face him in the ring.

Broad­cast live, it earned him a

£35 fee and rave re­views for his “sham­bling and inar­tic­u­late charm”.

The fol­low­ing year, Con­nery starred along­side Lana Turner in the film An­other Time, An­other Place.

But Turner’s gang­ster boyfriend Johnny Stom­panato, a for­mer Mob body­guard, be­came con­vinced the pair were hav­ing an af­fair.

He turned up on set with a gun, threat­en­ing to kill Con­nery. Again, it was the

ac­tor’s Navy train­ing that saved the day, as he wres­tled Stom­panato to snatch the weapon from his hand.

By 1961, when he landed a star­ring role in a Canadian film ver­sion of Mac­beth, the then 31-year-old Con­nery was dat­ing Diane Ci­lento, 20 months his ju­nior.

She was an Aus­tralian ac­tress who had stud­ied at RADA and had a child with her first hus­band.

Diane in­tro­duced Con­nery to the teach­ings of Yat Malm­gren, a Swedish dancer who taught him grace and aware­ness in move­ment.

At first he could af­ford only three lessons a week. Again show­ing his fierce de­ter­mi­na­tion to achieve the ul­ti­mate level of per­for­mance, he con­tin­ued to take lessons for the next 11 years. He re­called: “Up to that point, I’d never had a sin­gle act­ing les­son.

“My train­ing as a body­builder greatly helped me play the many tough parts I was of­fered.

“But here was a sys­tem ap­pli­ca­ble to all roles. It pro­vided me with the es­sen­tials in cre­at­ing a char­ac­ter, and I’ve used his sys­tem ever since.”

Diane and Con­nery mar­ried in Gi­bral­tar in 1962 and their son, Ja­son, was born the fol­low­ing llow­ing year.

At the same time me as he found und sta­bil­ity in his per­sonal life, Con­nery’s ry’s pub­lic life was tak­ing ing off.

His big break came af­ter afte r meet­ing with Al­bert “Cubby” ubby” Broc­coli , who was cast­ing ng for the first Bond movie, Dr. No.

But the ac­tor did not win his ca­reer-defin­ing ning role easi ly. He said: BOX OF­FICE E HIT With Ur­sula An­dress in Dr No

“Flem­ing had the right of who would play the part or not. “A ter­ri­ble snob, you know – but he went to Eton and I think that ex­plains quite a bit of that side of him.”

Flem­ing felt th the stocky Scot was too “un­re­fined” and did di not want to cast him. But Con­nery turned to the film’s di­rec­tor, Ter­ence Young, who schooled him in nav­i­gat­ing the finest win wine lists and menus.

He also taught him to dress in Sav­ile Ro Row suits – even ad­vis­ing him to sleep in one to wear it w with non­cha­lance.

H He also had Flem­ing’s gi girl­friend on­side – who to told the au­thor Con­nery had ha rare sex­ual charisma.

And af­ter Dr. No’s suc­cess­ful pre­miere, Flem­ing was a firm fan.

Con­nery said of land­ing the part: “Ah, they tried every­body else, didn’t they?

“They went to David

Niven, James Ma­son and Cary Grant. They tried all of them but they were too dear. I sup­pose what was left was me.”

The low-bud­get movie be­came such a hit that Flem­ing al­tered Bond’s back­story to make him half-Scot­tish.

Con­nery started los­ing his hair at 21 and wore a toupee in all his Bond years and be­yond.

He said: “I don’t like wear­ing a hair­piece. I don’t like stick­ing a beard on, I’d rather grow a beard. Un­for­tu­nately, I can’t grow hair.”

He went on to star in six more Bond films un­til 1983. His earn­ings bal­looned from £10,000 for Dr. No to a record mil­lion-dol­lar fee for 1971’s Di­a­monds Are For­ever.

He used it to set up the Scot­tish In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Trust.

But the life-chang­ing fame cost him his first mar­riage.

Diane’s claims that Con­nery was a vi­o­lent hus­band left an in­deli­ble stain on his rep­u­ta­tion – not helped by quotes he gave to Play­boy in 1965.

He told the mag­a­zine: “I don’t think there’s any­thing par­tic­u­larly wrong about hit­ting a woman – al­though I don’t rec­om­mend do­ing it in the same way that you’d hit a man.

“An open-handed slap is jus­ti­fied, if all other al­ter­na­tives fail and there has been plenty of warn­ing. If a woman is a bitch, or hys­ter­i­cal, or bloody-minded con­tin­u­ally, then I’d do it.”

Con­nery later said the quotes were taken out of con­text. But in a 1993 mag­a­zine in­ter­view, he said: “There are women who take it to the wire.

“That’s what they are look­ing for, the ul­ti­mate con­fronta­tion. They want a smack.”

Again Con­nery back­tracked, say­ing he was not ad­vo­cat­ing vi­o­lence against women. But the dam­age was done. By the time he and Diane di­vorced in 1973 he had al­ready met wife num­ber two.

In March 1970 he was in Casablanca to take part in a golf tour­na­ment. On the course he met French-Moroc­can artist Miche­line Ro­que­brune, who was mar­ried with three young chil­dren.

But her hus­band had re­turned home, an­noyed at his form on the course.

De­spite the fact he spoke no French and she vir­tu­ally no English, he spent the re­main­der of the week woo­ing her.

Af­ter the hol­i­day, Con­nery re­turned home to Diane. But three months later he called Miche­line to tell her he was in love with her.

They wed in Gi­bral­tar – where he had mar­ried Diane – in May 1975 and they re­mained to­gether till his death.

As the Bond fran­chise grew,

They tried oth­ers but they were too dear. I was left... SEAN CON­NERY ON LAND­ING ROLE OF BOND

Con­nery’s re­la­tion­ship with Cubby Broc­coli fell apart. Re­la­tions be­came so strained, he re­fused to come out of his trailer if Cubby was around.

And his feel­ings about the role that made him a star were com­pli­cated.

He once said he “hated” Bond, yet re­mained proudly con­nected to it.

But his next roles were cho­sen in a bid to dis­tance him­self from the role and to flex his act­ing mus­cles. And the next three decades of his life were the most crit­i­cally ac­claimed.

Con­nery also won im­mense re­spect from ac­tors and in­dus­try bosses as he suc­cess­fully sued stu­dios for un­fair wages – and be­came the first ac­tor to en­sure he was paid be­fore his agents took their cut.

Yet he said of his bumper pay pack­ets: “I have no de­sire to have one hun­dred mil­lion pounds, or 50 mil­lion

Hpounds, at all. I know ex­actly what it is to be with­out money. And I know ex­actly what money is to me.”

Per­haps more im­por­tant than the money were the plau­dits. He won an Oscar for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tor for The Un­touch­ables, two Bafta Awards, in­clud­ing the Acad­emy Fel­low­ship, and three Golden Globes – among them the Ce­cil B. DeMille Award for out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions.

e was also once voted the great­est liv­ing Scot and the sex­i­est man of the cen­tury – to which he re­sponded suc­cinctly: “Well, they have great taste.”

In 2003, Con­nery filmed the movie that drove him to quit act­ing – The League of Ex­tra­or­di­nary Gentle­men.

He called it “a night­mare” adding: “The ex­pe­ri­ence made me think about show­biz. I get fed-up deal­ing with id­iots.” He even claimed di­rec­tor Stephen Nor­ring­ton was “in­sane”.

Lu­cra­tive of­fers rolled in but were bat­ted away. Con­nery said: “Re­tire­ment is too damn much fun.” He con­tin­ued in­stead to en­joy his golf – which he learned while film­ing Goldfin­ger. He played al­most daily.

In 2000, Con­nery be­came a Sir, knighted for ser­vices to film drama. It was a day he called the great­est of his life.

He has lived in Spain, Greece and lat­terly the Ba­hamas, where he died.

But he said he would not re­turn to Scot­land un­til the coun­try won in­de­pen­dence.

Back in Ed­in­burgh, his child­hood home was de­mol­ished in the 1960s and is now the site of a mod­ern hous­ing and of­fice com­plex.

But the plaque he un­veiled there in 2010 now has a new poignancy.

It reads: “Sean Con­nery,

Born Foun­tain­bridge, 25 Au­gust 1938, Oscar win­ning ac­tor, In­ter­na­tional film star.”

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 ??  ?? DI­A­MONDS GEEZER Sean played su­per­spy Bond in seven films
DI­A­MONDS GEEZER Sean played su­per­spy Bond in seven films
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 ??  ?? With sec­ond wife Miche­line
With sec­ond wife Miche­line

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