Eternally identified with the character and chosen as the “sexiest” of the century, the actor tried not to get pigeonholed, and finally succeeded. Nevertheless.
As with myths, matter is less interested than dreams. This Saturday, October 31, the actor Sean Connery He is no longer earthly, but he is still housed in that posthumous kingdom to which he moved 58 years ago, when he first appeared as a British spy agent in the film The Satanic Dr No.
The British actor, unknown until that moment, flooded the screen with an almost brutal magnetism, an ironic smile that could be lethal, a perfect tuxedo and other tics that gave an unmistakable profile to the most famous spy of all time: James Bond.
The film (1962), based on a novel by Ian Fleming, he was weak, Connery did not display the gifts of a great actor, but it was a bombshell. More than the substance, the power of the film was on the surface: in the way Connery shaped that kind of masculinity that captivated women as an object of desire and men as a prototype of the winner. The Bond style was born, a British icon was born, a legend was born.
Connery played the character six more times (between ’62 and ’83) and the series – the longest in movie history – continued to this day with other actors. In the new millennium, Bond seems as immortal as the hero of ’62 was who, at a gaming table, with a cigarette in his mouth, presented himself to the fatal girl: “My name is Bond, James Bond”.
Perhaps it is as unfair as it is irremediable to begin the evocation of Connery with his most famous character. Before Bond, Connery had made 12 movies as a supporting actor, then another 50 who had him as a main or supporting actor. In several of them he showed himself as a good interpreter and even won an Oscar -as a “supporting actor- in 1987 with The Untouchables, who directed Brian De Palma. There he played the role of Jim Malone.
We are talking about 70 movies and 70 characters over which the shadow of one, powerful and unforgettable hangs. But that’s how capricious artistic creation is, that’s how capricious in life. When Connery – at that time he was 32 years old – was chosen to play Bond, he knew it was an extraordinary stroke of luck, but did not imagine that it was also a kind of condemnation.
Born Thomas Sean Connery in Edinburgh, Scotland (1930), his youthful adventures further enhance later fame: poor parents, milk delivery boy at 9, bricklayer, coffin polisher, marine disaffected by health problems and even nude model in a School of Fine Arts. He had what: he was a bodybuilder and in 1953 he came out third in the Tall Men category (almost 1.90 meters) in a Mr. Universe contest. Ever, Connery confessed that he started smoking and lost his virginity at age 9. The boy already brought them to him.
At 23, he tried football and was about to sign for Manchester United, but had already made his way to show business in Great Britain and then in the United States. It was an irregular income (among other roles, he played bad in a lousy movie Tarzan) and with some shocks. In 1958, he had a major role in the melodrama Mists of unease as a British journalist who has a love affair with Lana Turner.
All sources assume that during filming, Turner’s boyfriend, mobster Johnny Stompanato, believed she was having an affair with Connery. They say that Stompanato broke into the filming and pointed a gun at Connery and they say Connery disarmed him and knocked him out. “I had to disappear for a while as Stomponato boss Mickey Cohen was very angry,” Connery recounted.
In 1962, Albert Broccoli, the producer of the James Bond saga, was looking for a candidate for the role of the spy (they were about 200 applicants). He was leaning towards someone consecrated like Cary Grant, but in one of the tests, his wife Dana Natol, told Broccoli: “That is the perfect man for Bond.” And he pointed to Connery.
Does anyone remember a movie titled The man who wanted to be king? With the splendid direction of John Houston, it is based on an account of Rudyard Kipling that tells the great madness of two men who entered the distant country of Kafiristan to realize their dreams.
The film (1975) speaks of an impossible mission: to become kings of a territory that they will conquer only based on their imagination and effort. One of them, Daniel Dravot, is reincarnated as Alexander the Great and the people make him a demigod. But the story ends in disaster. The movie is extraordinary and the actors, too. Dravot is Sean Connery. The other is Michael Caine.
The example is relevant because after his foray into the Bond series, Connery tried to reinvent himself, I wanted to be something else so as not to get pigeonholed in the role of the cold, calculating, ruthless and winning spy. And show that he could be a worthy actor. He did it with good results in The name of the rose (plays a Franciscan friar) the adaptation of the novel by Umberto Eco; in The Untouchables (an honest Irish policeman) or in Discovering Forrester (an old writer). Previously, and in the midst of Bond’s adventures, he had already worked under film greats with Hitchcock or Sidney Lumet.
As if he wanted to demystify that reputation as a inveterate seducer (countless romances were attributed to him), his private life was strongly marked by two women he married: the actress Diane Cilento (from 62 to 73), with whom he had a son, and the Moroccan French painter Roquebrune Micheline with whom he lived from 75 until his death.
Meanwhile, the media continued to feed the legend: a vote by Life magazine chose him as the “Sexiest Man Alive in the World” in 1990 (eye that he was 59 years old and wore a toupee since 30) and People magazine as “The Sexiest of the Century ”, in 1999.
Other data? Connery was a fervent defender of Scotland and belonged to the Scottish National Party (for which he had been a spokesperson on more than one occasion), received numerous awards and honors, was awarded the title of Sir, played golf, loved football, in an interview his tongue went away and They accused him of being macho and misogynistic, and there were no shortage of rumors about his state of health. In 2005 he announced that he was retiring from the cinema and, after circulating for years on the Marbella jet set, he went to live in the Bahamas, outraged by the taxes he had to pay in Britain.