FILE - In this file photo dated April 20, 1964, James Bond, alias, Sean Connery, finds himself in a sticky situation with actress Shirley Eaton at Pinewood Studios, near London. Miss Eaton was given a liberal coating of gold paint for a scene in the latest Bond thriller “Goldfinger,” with unidentified woman at top. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Victor Boynton)

FILE - In this file photo dated April 20, 1964, James Bond, alias, Sean Connery, finds himself in a sticky situation with actress Shirley Eaton at Pinewood Studios, near London. Miss Eaton was given a liberal coating of gold paint for a scene in the latest Bond thriller “Goldfinger,” with unidentified woman at top. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Victor Boynton)

Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Scottish actor Sean Connery, the first actor to play James Bond on film and for many fans the best, has died. He was 90.

Bond producers EON Productions confirmed his death, first reported by the BBC. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said they were “devastated by the news.”

“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond,’” they said in a statement.

The producers said Connery’s “gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent” was largely responsible for the success of the series.

The Scottish actor rose to international superstardom as the suave and fearless secret agent, first playing Bond in “Dr No” in 1962. After a further four films, he abandoned the role, before being enticed back to play him twice more, finally in 1983’s “Never Say Never Again.”

While he will be most remembered for his portrayal of Bond, Connery enjoyed a varied career, which included the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a tough Irish street cop in the 1987 movie “The Untouchables.”

He also had major roles in films including “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “Highlander” and “The Hunt for Red October.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken” at the news.

“Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons,” she said.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for services to film drama and in 2005 he was chosen for a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute.

Thomas Sean Connery was born Aug. 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the first of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a domestic worker.

He left school at age 13 during World War II to help support his family.

“I was a milkman, labourer, steel bender, cement mixer — virtually anything,” he said.

Weary of day labour, he joined the British navy and was medically discharged after three years. The ailment: stomach ulcers.

Back in Edinburgh, he lifted weights to build his body and compete in the Mr. Universe contest. He came in third, briefly considered becoming a professional soccer player, but chose acting because he reasoned his career would last longer.

READ MORE: James Bond film release pushed back due to coronavirus

He got his first big break singing and dancing to “There is Nothing Like a Dame” in “South Pacific” on the London stage and in a road production before going on to act in repertory, television and B movies.

He went to Hollywood for two early films, Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” and “Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure.”

When he decided to become an actor, he was told that Thomas Sean Connery wouldn’t fit on a theatre marquee so he dropped his first name.

Then came the audition that changed his life. American producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman had bought the film rights to a string of post-World War II spy adventure novels by Ian Fleming.

Connery was not their first choice for “Dr. No.” The producers had looked to Cary Grant, but decided they wanted an actor would commit to a series. The producers also realized they couldn’t afford a big-name star because United Artists had limited their film budget to $1 million a picture, so they started interviewing more obscure British performers.

Among them was the 6-foot-2 Connery. Without a screen test, Broccoli and Saltzman chose the actor, citing his “dark, cruel good looks,” a perfect match for the way Fleming described Bond.

It’s the way many will always remember Bond.

For more news from B.C. and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Jill Lawless And Hillel Italie, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Arts and EntertainmentMoviesObituaries

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

File photo
Castlegar sees spike in crime over winter

Local RCMP report increase in calls

Kirk Duff is running for mayor in the upcoming Castlegar byelection Photo: Submitted
Third candidate enters Castlegar mayor’s race

Kirk Duff previously served 18 years as a city councillor

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

The Kaslo Outdoor Recreation and Trail Society will build a trail on Mount Buchanan, seen here with society secretary Stuart Heard, with support from Columbia Basin Trust. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay trails receive Columbia Basin Trust funding

Several locations in the West Kootenay are undergoing upgrades

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read