Vintage Hunk: Sean Connery

By: Mike McCrann

Sean Connery will always be James Bond no matter how many other great roles he played; probably no actor and film role have ever been so closely associated. Maybe that's because Connery was the first Bond in a feature film. Maybe because those first three Bond films are the best in this still running series. Or maybe it's due to the fact while other actors have played Bond, Connery was the best. Regardless, the Scottish born Connery did strive for a variety of roles and some of his non-Bond films are excellent. And whatever the role, the talented hirsute Connery was overpoweringly sexy.

After odd jobs, a stint in the Navy and a fling at body building for the Mr. Universe contests (He's #21 in the photo at the bottom of this article), Connery turned to acting. Minor roles in British films followed and finally in 1958 he co-starred with glamorous Lana Turner in Another Time, Another Place. The only interesting thing about this flop was off the set when Connery disarmed Lana's mobster boy friend Johnny Stompanato, who had come on the set with a gun, convinced that she and Connery were an item; Stompanato was later killed by Lana's daughter in one of the great scandals of the 1950s.

Connery then went into a Disney film, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, but was spinning his wheels creatively when he was chosen to play James Bond in Dr. No, the first of a series being planned from Ian Fleming's spy novels. Dr. No was a hit and its successor From Russia with Love is probably the most fun of all the early Bond films. A blond murderous Robert Shaw (pre-Jaws) and wonderful villainess Lotte Lenya (with knives in her shoes) are the standouts. The third Bond film Goldfinger sent the series into the stratosphere. Connery made James Bond and the series into a massive cultural phenomenon. With the great John Barry Bond theme and sexy Connery, bare chested in almost every film, history was made. Comparing the novelist's character with Sean Connery, critic David Thomson succinctly stated, "Fleming's Bond is more English, more conservative, bleaker and less funny but its success (Goldfinger) ensured a steady stream of films - all held in place by Sean Connery's icy sadism." In all, Connery made the first five James Bond films and eventually did two more later on.

Determined to prove he could be more than just a skirt chasing, British super spy, Connery tried branching out. For Alfred Hitchcock he made Marnie with Tippi Hedren, a ludicrous film about a man who marries a frigid serial thief. It was blasted at the time but now has a true cult following. Mainstream hits like Murder on the Orient Express and the fabulous The Man Who Would Be King, with last week's vintage hunk Michael Caine, made Connery a top movie star.

Acting wise Connery reached his zenith with Brian de Palma's epic crime drama The Untouchables. Playing a hard-nosed Irish cop, Connery not only received rapturous reviews but won the 1987 Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. Connery was on a role. In 1989 he played Harrison Ford's father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and was named Sexiest Man of the Year by People Magazine.

Other solidly entertaining films include The Hunt For Red October, The Wind and The Lion with Candice Bergen, and The Name of The Rose, which won the British Academy Award. Sadly, health problems and advancing age caused Connery to officially retire in early 2011.

Connery has been married twice. The first marriage to the late Diane Cilento (Oscar nominated for her slutty role in Tom Jones) ended in divorce. She is the mother of Connery's only child, Jason Connery. Since 1975 Connery has been happily married to Moroccan-French painter Micheline Roquebrune.

Sean Connery has won an Oscar, three Golden Globes, and been Knighted—that's "Sir Sean" to you— but no matter what he accomplished he will always be the most famous of the cinematic James Bonds. Connery was at the beginning of a box office bonanza that reaped billions of dollars and made the sexy Scot a cultural icon. He was handsome, well built, hairy, but most of all there was that great voice. When Connery spoke in that smokey purr audiences were spellbound. Sexuality has never come in a more completely masculine package.