Life People

Sean Connery, Dead at 90

Alas, the greatest Bond actor has died. It was hard not to like Connery on screen, besides being the best Bond, I really enjoyed his performance in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He had great screen presence, even in smaller roles like King Agamemnon in Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits, he’s very memorable. He’ll be missed.

James Bond and Highlander Star Sean Connery Passes Away at ...

I’ve collected a few excepts from various obits below, he’ll always be remembered as Bond, but also for his misogynistic Playboy interview, his start in life as a milkman, and his essential Scottishness.

The view from Scotland:

Connery had a sharp sense of humour, though he could certainly be prickly when he felt he had been wronged. He had a reputation as being stingy and may well have been the last person in a company to buy a round. But it was not that he was mean – he simply did not like to be taken advantage of.

He was a product of his place and time, a mix of nature and nurture, an intelligent and deeply thoughtful man, whose daily routine in the Bahamas began when he went online to look at The Scotsman website, before heading out to the golf course.

Despite humble beginnings, Connery had the stature, dignity and authority to play not just Bond, but Richard the Lionheart, King Arthur and an aged Robin Hood in Robin and Marian, one of his most touching and underrated films.

It is 17 years since he retired from acting. He had had several health issues and in recent times had dementia. He is survived by his second wife Micheline Roquebrune, an artist he met at a golf tournament in the early 1970s, and by his son from his first marriage, the actor Jason Connery.
Kevin finally finds the place he belongs, ancient Greece ...

On acting and that accent:

 “There’s nothing special about being an actor,” he once remarked. “It’s a job like being a bricklayer and I’ve never stopped being amazed at the mystique people attach to my business.”

He was sometimes criticised and even ridiculed for never changing his deep, abrasive, slightly sibilant Scottish burr no matter if he were playing an Irishman, an Arab or a Russian. Whether or not Connery could do different accents – he occasionally ventured an Irish-American one – he seemed to use his oft-imitated voice as a badge of honour, like the tattoo on his forearm that read Scotland Forever.

On that Playboy Interview:

in the wake of Connery’s passing, it’s been uncomfortable (but important) to remember the actor’s own views on women, which unfortunately dovetail with the less-appealing aspects of the James Bond mythos. In 1965, Connery gave a now-infamous interview to Playboy in which he was asked, “How do you feel about roughing up a woman, as Bond sometimes has to do?” As reprinted by Conduit Cut, this was his response. (Periods of ellipses are from the source):

“I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman … although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man. An openhanded slap is justified … if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning. If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it. I think a man has to be slightly advanced, ahead of the woman. I really do … by virtue of the way a man is built, if nothing else. But I wouldn’t call myself sadistic. I think one of the appeals that Bond has for women, however, is that he is decisive, cruel even. By their nature women aren’t decisive … ‘Shall I wear this? Shall I wear that?’ … and along comes a man who is absolutely sure of everything and he’s a godsend. And, of course, Bond is never in love with a girl and that helps. He always does what he wants, and women like that. It explains why so many women are crazy about men who don’t give a rap for them.”

While others have pointed out Connery’s comments about violence against women, the full quote is more illuminating because it speaks to a curdled masculine mindset of the era: You shouldn’t hit women but, y’know, they’re the weaker sex and sometimes they need a man to help sort them out. Also, women really love that sort of thing.

One can try to be somewhat forgiving — hey, it was a different time and, listen, Connery was most certainly not the only guy who felt this way — but because he connects his attitude to that of Bond’s, his quote articulates what’s always been inherently troublesome about the 007 movies.
Sean Connery wearing a bespoke suit from Anthony Sinclair in Goldfinger

And, those suits:

Sean Connery is, regrettably to report, the second of the actors to portray James Bond in the EON film series to have passed away. Though he has been out of the public eye for many years, he has continued to be a cultural icon, which he has been since 1962 when he was the first actor to play James Bond on the big screen. Connery played James Bond in six films in the EON series, Dr. NoFrom Russia with LoveGoldfingerThunderballYou Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever from 1962 to 1971, and in one non-EON Bond film, Never Say Never Again in 1983. Sean Connery has always been the most popular James Bond, and not just because he was the first. Connery had the perfect blend of class, toughness and charm to be what James Bond was meant to be.

Sean Connery also set the template for how James Bond should dress on screen. As James Bond, Connery was always well-tailored in the English manner, but his clothes never drew too much attention to themselves. The clothes were special because of the details. The cut of the Anthony Sinclair suits had just the right amount of shape: not too dramatic but never boxy. A low button stance on the jacket and self-supporting forward-pleated trousers gave the suits a streamlined look. The suitings were elegant but never too bold: sharkskins, flannels, glen checks, herringbones and chalk stripes made up his wardrobe. The shirts had elegant spread collars and unique cocktail cuffs. The ties were always solid, but in grenadine and knitted variations they had texture to make them special.