Sean Connery sure was always a screen delight from the moment he stepped in on the James Bond franchise as undercover agent 007, to the very end of his illustrious career that spanned more than five decades.
The short-tempered Scot who grew up in slums of Edinburg and stunned his fans the world over when he dumped the Bond franchise died in his sleep in Nassau, the Bahamas at the age of 90 as confirmed by his family.
“Bond, James Bond” was the character’s familiar self-introduction, and to legions of fans who have watched a parade of actors play the role — otherwise known as Agent 007 on Her Majesty’s Secret Service — none uttered the words or played the part as magnetically or as indelibly as Mr. Connery.
Tall, dark and dashing, he embodied the novelist Ian Fleming’s suave and resourceful secret agent in the first five Bond films and seven overall, vanquishing diabolical villains and voluptuous women alike beginning with “Dr. No” in 1962.
Connery who went on to have a long and fruitful career as a respected actor and an always bankable star, was the top box-office star in both Britain and the United States in 1965 after the success of “From Russia With Love” (1963), “Goldfinger” (1964) and “Thunderball” (1965). But he grew tired of playing Bond after the fifth film in the series, “You Only Live Twice” (1967), and was replaced by George Lazenby, a little-known Australian actor and model, in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969).
Mr. Connery was lured back for one more Bond movie, “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971), only by the offer of $1 million as an advance against 12 percent of the movie’s gross revenues. Roger Moore took over for “Live and Let Die” (1973) and continued to play the part for another 12 years. George Lazenby’s career never took off. James Bond has been played by Daniel Craig since 2006.
Mr. Connery would revisit the character one more time a decade later, in the elegiac “Never Say Never Again” (1983), in which he wittily played a rueful Bond feeling the anxieties of middle age. But he had made clear long before then that he was not going to let himself be typecast.