Sir Sean Connery

1930 - 2020

Sean Connery
©2021 Gazetteer for Scotland

Sean Connery

Actor. Born in the Fountainbridge district of Edinburgh, Connery was perhaps best known for portraying Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond in seven on-screen appearances. He began his career as a milkman, while playing football for the Bonnyrigg Rose junior team. He was offered a contract by Sir Matt Busby (1909-94) to play for Manchester United but turned it down. However, his road to success was through body-building competitions. His first film was No Road Back (1956) and other notable roles have included The Longest Day (1962), The Molly Maguires (1970), The Man who would be King (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977), Time Bandits (1981), The Untouchables (1987), for which he won an Oscar as best supporting actor, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and The Hunt for Red October (1990), where Connery's remarkable screen presence allowed him to play a Russian naval officer despite his strong Scottish accent. His final film was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003.

An accomplished amateur golfer, Connery has made his home in Nice (France), Marbella (Spain) and latterly the Bahamas, but visited Scotland regularly, taking an active role in nationalist politics and supporting charities. In 1971, he donated his entire salary of $1 million from the Bond film Diamonds Are Forever to found the Scottish International Education Trust. This charity has supported many young Scots in achieving their ambitions, including tennis player Andy Murray (b.1987). Connery also founded the Friends of Scotland to showcase cultural, educational and historical connections between the USA and Scotland.

Made a Freeman of the City of Edinburgh (1992), Connery held honorary degrees from Heriot-Watt (1981), St. Andrews (1988) and Edinburgh Napier Universities (2009) and was knighted (after some controversy, relating to his outspoken support for the Scottish National Party) by HM the Queen in the Palace of Holyroodhouse (2000). He has also been honoured by France and is a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and gained a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute in 2006.

Connery died at his home in the Bahamas, with his ashes scattered there and in Scotland.

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