Today is the 86th birthday of a man that I have admired for many years. Sean Connery.
My admiration of him even extended to naming one of my sons after him!!
His career has been varied, covering many years. He retired from acting in 2006, only returning to film for a couple of voice overs in movies since then.
He is best remembered as James Bond, of course, though he has impressed in many other roles over the years.
My personal favourite is his role in Highlander, alongside Christopher Lambert. Casting a frenchman to play a Scotsman and a Scotsman to play a Spaniard, does sound odd to begin with, but it worked wonderfully.
Though he acted on stage during the 50’s, it was the late fifties before he broke into film work. James Bond gave him his big break, and he acted in seven 007 movies from 1962 until 1983. It is said that Ian Fleming did not originally like a Scot who looked like a ‘stuntman’ being chosen for the leading man role, but was so impressed with Connery that he later wrote his Bond character around him.
He reportedly did not like being pigeon-holed as the Bond character and quit after ‘never say never again’ film in 1983, handing the role over to Roger Moore. After this some of his most prestigious movies came along.
‘The name of the Rose’ in which he starred alongside a young Christian Slater (another childhood crush of mine, swoon!), was an entirely different role for him, playing a mystery solving monk, in the Umberto Ecko story.
The following movie, ‘Highlander’ I have already mentioned. Then came ‘The untouchables’ with Kevin Costner, which gave him his only Oscar nomination. A very good film to watch, some great acting from a group of brilliant actors who all went on to very big roles in films of their own afterwards.
Another big film followed, the third installment of the Indiana Jones trilogy, with Harrison Ford, playing his father. There are some hilarious and highly entertaining moments in this movie, he shows a wide range of his acting abilities.
Other popular movies came along after this, one worth mentioning is the voice role in ‘Dragonheart’, a family film about a boy and a dragon, which would touch the hardest of hearts when watching it.
He was given a knighthood in 2000, which he accepted from the Queen at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. Though it has been suggested to him, he has never rid himself of the strong Scottish accent, holding tight to his Scottish roots. He is a long time SNP member and supporter of Scottish independance.
Though he now lives in Greece, he refutes accusations of avoiding UK tax, even releasing details of his tax payments to prove this. He has been married to Micheline since 1975, though they have no children. A long marriage for someone in the public eye! His only child Jason Connery is also an actor, the two of them being the only father/son pairing to play the same role at different ages (Robin Hood, Jason in the series Robin of Sherwood and Sean in the film Robin and Marion). Jason’s mother was Sean’s former wife Diane Cilento.
So let us raise a glass of whisky in celebration of the birthday of a legend.
Happy birthday Sean Connery, may you enjoy many more to come!!