He is 90 years old today. And even if he consciously decided to retire in 2003, after having played the adventurer Alan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, adapted from the graphic novel by Alan Moore, he will have forever marked his elegance and his charm - sometimes violent - the role of James Bond.
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Sean Connery remains the one, the real one, the only spy of His Majesty. It is he who appears inside the barrel of a bloody weapon in the credits created by Maurice Binder. He was the first to say the famous: "My name is Bond." James Bond. " It is he who casually orders a Vodka Martini, "with a shaker, not with a spoon" . He is the one who has a 007 license to kill, and who draws his Walther PPK, while driving the shiny Aston Martin DB5, in Goldfinger, in 1965.
Yet the fate of the most famous Scottish actor was not part of such a firmament. Thomas "Sean" Connery was born practically in poverty. On August 25, 1930, married to Joseph Connery, Euphemia, "Effie" McLean, gave birth to a son at the Royal Maternity Hospital in Edinburgh. The baby will first be housed in the bottom drawer of the dresser at 176 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. The father of the one who would later be nicknamed "Big Sean" was a tough guy who worked in a rubber factory. Her mother is a cleaning lady.
" Dressed like a tramp ... "
For the young Sean Connery, the "Bond" forward comes at the end of 1961. He participated in the casting of a low-budget spy movie, James Bond and Dr. No . The two producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman do not expect to see him land. His entry into the South Adley Street offices caused a sensation. "He was dressed like a tramp, his clothes were wrinkled, and he wasn't wearing a tie," "Cubby" Broccoli reports.
Sean Connery has come in relaxed and doesn't want to give up trying. “You take me as is or not at all,” he retorts. In fact, the more Sean Connery gets angry, the more the two producers are convinced to have found the rare bird. “The difference between Sean and other young actors is the same that exists between a photograph and a film. When Connery starts to move, he lives. ”
Even if Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond would have rather seen Cary Grant in the role of his master spy, Broccoli and Saltzman hold on. Sean Connery is engaged. Even before seeing him play in Terence Young's film, Fleming says, "I'm looking for Commander James Bond, not a big-armed stuntman." Fleming doesn't know how wrong he is about this young Scotsman.
Ambitious, perfectionist, a bit misanthropic ...
To help Sean Connery soak up the role of Bond, director Li asks to sleep in the superb costume he had specially designed for him by his London tailor Turnbull and Asser, on the Saville Row side.
Today, from the late Roger Moore to Daniel Craig via George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton, all the actors who succeeded him have referred to the character he will have shaped over the seven films in which he played 007.
Ambitious, perfectionist, a bit misanthropic, as demanding with others as with himself, Sean Connery has succeeded in everything in his life, including making people forget that he was James Bond.
At the start of his career, once put into orbit by "Bondmania", he was hired between two shoots by Alfred Hitchcock to play in No Spring for Marnie , with Tippie Edren. In 1975, it was The Man Who Wished To Be King in 1975, under the direction of John Huston. The quintessential adventure film adapted from Rudyard Kipling's novel. Sean Connery finally plays with his accomplice and friend Michael Caine.
In 1983, he put on James Bond's tuxedo for the last time in Never Again , before playing the Franciscan monk Guillaume de Baskerville in Jean-Jacques Annaud's adaptation of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose .
He is also found in the role of an immortal in Highlander, in that of a badass cop at Brian de Palma for The Untouchables , not to mention his role as an escaped spy in Rock by Michael Bay, in 1996.
Sean Connery will have spent his life incarnating a character of defender of lost causes, an idealist with generous ideas defending secular moral values, and claiming to be a code of honor fallen into disuse. Since he retired, he has been living comfortably in the south of France or in Marbella with his French wife Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met in Marrakech during a golf tournament. The golf course he discovered in 1964 while filming ... Goldfinger .
Happy birthday, mister Bond!