Legendary Scottish star Sean Connery, who became a global sensation as the first James Bond and featured in a string of cult hits in his five-decade-long career, passed away on Saturday. He was 90.
According to a report, the actor died overnight in his sleep while in the Bahamas. He had been unwell for quite some time.
In the career spanning half a century, the actor featured in many critically-acclaimed and commercial blockbusters such as "The Hunt for Red October", "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", "Murder on the Orient Express" and "The Rock".
Moreover, Sean Connery's James Bond in 'Dr. No' was included in a list of the 50 greatest movie heroes chosen by American Film Institute in June 2003.
James Bond (Dr. No, played by Sean Connery) was voted the third-greatest hero of all time. Meanwhile, Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird, played by Gregory Peck) and Indiana Jones (Raiders of the Lost Ark, played by Harrison Ford) were placed first and second in the list respectively.
The American Film Institute had revealed the rankings in a television special titled "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains" hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
All you need to know about Sean Connery:
Connery was born on August 25, 1930, to a Catholic factory worker and a Protestant domestic cleaner. He left school at the age 13 with no qualifications and delivered milk, polished coffins and laid bricks, before joining the Royal Navy. But he was invalided out of the service with stomach ulcers only three years later. He initially made a living by doing odd-jobs like driving trucks, working as a lifeguard and posing as a model at the Edinburgh College of Art. The actor spent his spare time bodybuilding.
It was in 1956 that Connery landed his first acting job for BBC production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight". Soon after, he made his film debut with "No Road Back". The following year, he appeared in films like "Hell Drivers", "Action of the Tiger" and "Time Lock".
A major breakthrough in his career came when Connery, a relatively unknown actor, was cast as James Bond after an interview with producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman.
It is said that author Ian Fleming was not fully convinced that Connery can pull off the part. However, the actor's charismatic portrayal of the spy won over the critics and for many franchise fans, he is still the best James Bond.
He first played the role of James Bond in 1962's "Dr. No", which he followed up with "From Russia with Love" (1963), "Goldfinger" (1964), "Thunderball" (1965), "You Only Live Twice"(1967), "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) and "Never Say Never Again"(1983).
Connery's portrayal has been a tough act to follow for successors like Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
Bond made a global star out of a relatively new Connery but it also pigeonholed him for a long time.
The actor started challenging his image by shifting gears and taking up more dramatic movies such as John Huston's "The Man Who Would Be King", Richard Attenborough's "A Bridge Too Far", "The Name of the Rose", which was a big international hit.
Connery won an Oscar for supporting actor for his turn as a tough Irish cop in Brian De Palma's 1987 "The Untouchables".
In the 90s, Connery starred in a string of hits such as "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "The Russia House" (1990), "The Rock" (1996), and "Entrapment" (1999).
After the turn of the new century in 2000, Connery's major acting appearance came in the superhero ensemble "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen". The actor had officially announced his retirement in 2006, when he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Connery was married to actor Diane Cilento from 1962-73. The couple divorced in 1973 and Cilento died in 2011. He is survived by his second wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975 and his son Jason Connery.
He was also knighted by the Queen of the United Kingdom in the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2000. He had described the ceremony as "one of the proudest days of my life".
(With PTI inputs)