Thomas Sean Connery was born in the Fountainbridge district of Edinburgh, Scotland on August 25, 1930. He grew up impoverished. The son of a truck-driver, he came from a background very different from that of his most famous screen alter-ego. After leaving school, he joined the Royal Navy, but was released due to ulcers. He had many jobs, including laborer, lifeguard and model for art classes. But it was his career as a bodybuilder that led to his representing Scotland in the 1953 Mr. Universe contest, in which he placed 3rd. This in turn led to a job in the chorus with the touring company of South Pacific. He appeared in several stage productions, and made his television debut in 1956. He signed a movie contract with MGM in the late 1950's, which led to a string of film roles.
He was cast as the first cinematic James Bond in Dr. No in 1962. He won the role over Cary Grant, Rex Harrison, Trevor Howard, Patrick McGoohan and Roger Moore, even though Ian Fleming was quoted as saying, "He [Connery] is not exactly what I envisioned" as the fictional British agent . However, the film was a success, which led to 3 more Bond films in the next 5 years.
Tired of being identified only as 007, Connery quit the role after You Only Live Twice, in order to devote more time to his family and to golf. The next Bond film starred George Lazenby, but Connery was persuaded to return as Bond in Diamonds are Forever. With that role, he said he was finished as Bond, but he returned in 1983's Never Say Never Again, which was not an "official" Bond film, as it was produced by Kevin McClory instead of Eon. This film did not help his relations with Bond producer Cubby Broccoli, with whom Connery was feuding
Connery has played many varied roles in films over the years, working with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston and Brian De Palma. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as the Golden Globe award in 1987, for his role as the Irish cop Malone in The Untouchables. He was also named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1989.
Connery is an avid golfer (he learned the game for 1964's Goldfinger) and in 1996 won the Lexus Challenge golf tournament with pro Hale Irwin.
In 1990, Connery received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1995, he received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field," given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In 1997, he was honored with a Gala Tribute by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York and in 1998, received a the British Academy Fellowship from BAFTA. He was honored by the Kennedy Center in 1999. He became Sir Sean Connery in July 2000, received a knighthood from the British government, despite being refused the honor 2 years previously for political reasons. He has also received awards in France, including the Legion d'Honeur, and the Commandeur des Arts and des Lettres
Connery has suffered from various illnesses during recent years, including throat problems, cataracts, and cancer scares. In part due to these, widespread false rumors of his death circulated in 1993 and in 2011. He publicly proclaimed his retirement from acting in 2010.
He has been married twice. His first wife was actress Diane Cilento. In an ironic twist, their son, actor Jason Connery, portrayed James Bond creator Ian Fleming in the film Spymaker. Sean has been married to French artist Micheline Roquebrune since 1975.
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