Connery’s family confirmed Saturday that the actor died in his sleep while at home in Nassau.
Born into a working-class family in Edinburgh, Scotland, Connery enlisted in the Royal Navy, and held various jobs as a youth, working as a milkman, a bricklayer and a lifeguard. He was also a talented athlete and keen bodybuilder, and at one point turned down an offer to play with Manchester United soccer team. He later entered the 1950 Mr. Universe contest and came in third place in one of the categories before becoming a jobbing actor.
Ian Fleming, author of the Bond books, was initially horrified by the prospect of his posh character, a graduate of Eton College being played by someone as lowly as Connery. Fleming quickly changed his mind when he saw what the actor could do, and later invented a distinguished Scottish ancestry for the Bond character.
Connery’s first Bond film was 1962’s, Fleming sent the actor to his Savile Row tailor.
Connery appeared in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983, including “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Never Say Never Again,” imbuing Bond with a smoldering sexuality and a great physical presence and charisma. Unlike many actors today, Connery was a giant at 6 feet, 2 inches, and certainly did wonders for those Savile Row suits.
Not wanting to be stereotyped forever as Bond, he took on such diverse roles as the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville in “The Name of the Rose,” and as Henry Jones Sr., father of Indiana Jones, in “The Last Crusade” in 1989. That same year, People Magazine voted Connery the Sexiest Man Alive.
Later in his career, Connery had no problem swapping those Savile Row suits for Giorgio Armani-designed period ensembles in Brian De Palma’s 1987 film “The Untouchables.” Connery, who played an Irish policeman in an Armani newsboy cap, would pick up the Academy Award for best supporting actor. Off-screen, Connery loved to wear a kilt on formal occasions .