by Grace O’Connor ’22
Sir Sean Connery lived a very successful life, taking on roles that showed off his legendary skills as an actor. He passed away in his sleep on Oct. 31 at age 90, surrounded by his family and loved ones. One of his most well-known roles was James Bond in all seven of the original spy thriller movies. Daniel Craig, the most recent James Bond, reflected on Connery’s legacy, saying, “Sir Sean was one of the true greats of cinema. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in megawatts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”
Connery impacted cinema in a way that no one else had. This 20th-century movie icon appeared in a film in 1957 called No Road Back. This film marked the beginning of his career, leading to his role as James Bond. The author, Ian Flemming, created the James Bond character in his titular novel, but Connery brought style and suave to the role. The producers, Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, reflected, “He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words ‘the name›s Bond…James Bond.’” The world felt the effect of his passing and has looked back on his life with appreciation and admiration.
Connery gained his success purely through hard work and determination. He was born into a lower-class family in Edinburgh and slowly worked his way up into the world of cinema. Growing up, Connery held many different jobs before he entered cinema in the 1950s. He started working at 13, delivering milk to help support his family. Later on, he enlisted in the Royal Navy, played English football, became a coffin-polisher, and began modeling. Connery was a very gifted football player, playing for Manchester United in his prime.
Later on, he decided to follow his heart and pursue acting instead. Connery admitted, “I had no sense of fear on the stage at all. It seemed right for me.” Five years after his first role in No Road Back, he launched into the Bond films. These films garnered Connery fame for his ability to play a character so unorthodox from what was previously seen on screen before.
After the Bond films, Connery’s career was uneventful for many years until his performance in The Untouchables in 1987. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor because of this film. The honors kept coming after this Oscar. In 2000, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his support of the Scottish National Party. He passionately fought for the rights and sovereignty of the Scottish people. In 2006, he was awarded The American Film Institute Achievement Award, and a few years later, in 2009, he also won an honorary doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University for his achievements throughout his career.
Connery “redefined heroism by injecting subtle humor in what could have been a cold, flat superhero.” His “Bond has been the touchstone for all the Bonds and action heroes that followed. Christopher Reeve’s Superman, Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones, Mike Myers’ Austin Powers and Pixar’s animated Mr. Incredible all grow out of Connery’s off-kilter take on the bloodless fictional character whose job is to save the Western world” (American Film Institute).
He created a role that pervaded many other films in proceeding years. James Bond embodied strength and resilience, as seen in many superheroes. He created Bond from his own imagination, and ran with the idea, pulling on his devoted viewers’ heartstrings with Bond’s charm. His brilliance and skill enabled him to gain an audience, but his confidence and hard work kept them watching. Sir Sean Connery will be missed by those who grew to love him for his many achievements, but James Bond will always live on.