Sean Connery, Oscar-Winning James Bond Star, Dies at 90

Scottish-born actor originated 007 on the big screen in 1962’s “Dr. No”

Last Updated: October 31, 2020 @ 7:29 AM

Sean Connery, the Scottish-born actor who shot to worldwide fame originating the role of James Bond in the long-running movie franchise, has died at age 90.

Connery died overnight in his sleep while in his home in the Bahamas, the BBC reported Saturday.

Connery played the suave British superspy in seven blockbuster films, beginning with 1962’s “Dr. No” all the way through 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.” He also won an Academy Award for his supporting role as an Irish-American cop battling Prohibition-era gangsters in Brian De Palma’s 1987 film “The Untouchables.”

Born Thomas Sean Connery in 1930, he began acting on the U.K. stage in early 1950s after a stint in the Royal Navy. By 1957, the amateur bodybuilder earned the lead role in the BBC’s production of “Requiem for a Heavyweight.” Two years later, Disney cast him as the lead in the 1959 movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” as a quick-witted Irishman battling a band of leprechauns.

But his breakthrough came in 1962 with the introduction of British spy James Bond in “Dr. No” — the first in a series of box office hits that showcased Connery’s rugged athleticism, smoldering good looks and winking humor. He returned as Bond in 1963’s “From Russia With Love,” 1964’s “Goldfinger,” 1965’s “Thunderball” and 1967’s “You Only Live Twice.” He soon grew tired of the role — though he later returned for two more outings, “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971) and “Never Say Never Again” (1983).

During this period, Connery also sought to stretch his onscreen range by starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie” (1964), Sidney Lumet’s “The Hill” (1965) and John Huston’s “The Man Who Would Be King” (1975) — the last opposite his longtime friend Michael Caine.

By the 1980s, he had graduated into elder-statesman and mentor roles in films like “Highlander” (1986), “The Name of the Rose” (1986), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), “The Rock” (1996) and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) — in which he played the Holy Grail-obsessed professor father of Harrison Ford’s title character.

Connery continued appearing in films well into his 60s, including the ’60s TV series adaptation “The Avengers” (1998), the drama “Finding Forrester” (2000) and the comic-book-inspired “League of Extraordinary Gentleman” (2003). Aside from a few voice roles, he basically retired from acting in the mid-2000s.

During the course of his career, Connery earned two Golden Globe Awards, one in 1972 for World Film Favorite – Male (shared with Charles Bronson) and another for “The Untouchables” in 1987. In 1996, he also picked up the honorary Cecil B. DeMille Award.

He is survived by his wife Micheline Roquebrune, a Moroccan-French artist he married in 1975. He was previously married to actress Diane Cilento (“Tom Jones”) from 1962 to 1973; they had a son together, actor Jason Connery.