LONDON (NewsNation Now) — Scottish movie legend Sean Connery, who shot to international stardom as the British agent James Bond and went on to dominate the silver screen for four decades, has died at age 90, the BBC reported Saturday.
Connery shot to fame as British agent 007, the character created by novelist Ian Fleming and immortalized by Connery in films starting with ““Dr. No” in 1962.
Connery played a series of noteworthy roles besides Bond and won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a tough Chicago cop in “”The Untouchables” (1987).
Some noteworthy non-Bond films included director Alfred Hitchcock’s “Marnie” (1964), “The Wind and the Lion” (1975) with Candice Bergen, director John Huston’s “The Man Who Would be King” (1975) with Michael Caine, director Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989) and the Cold War tale “The Hunt for Red October” (1990).
Connery was knighted by the Queen in 2000.
Born Thomas Connery on Aug. 25, 1930, he was the eldest of two sons of a long-distance truck driver and a mother who worked as a cleaner in Scotland. He dropped out of school at age 13 and worked in a variety of menial jobs. At 16, two years after World War Two ended, Connery was drafted into the Royal Navy, and served three years.
Connery played small parts with theatre repertory companies before graduating to films and television.
It was his part in a 1959 Disney leprechaun movie, “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” that helped land the role of Bond. Broccoli, a producer of the Bond films, asked his wife to watch Connery in the Disney movie while he was searching for the right leading actor.
After the smashing success of “Dr. No,” more Bond movies followed for Connery in quick succession: “From Russia with Love” (1963), “”Goldfinger” (1964), “”Thunderball” (1965) and ““You Only Live Twice” (1967).
Connery grew concerned about being typecast and decided to break away. Australian actor George Lazenby succeeded him as Bond in “”On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969.
But without Connery it lacked what the public wanted and he was lured back in 1971 for ““Diamonds Are Forever” with temptations that included a slice of the profits, which he said would go to a Scottish educational trust. He insisted it would be his last time as Bond.
Twelve years later, at age 53, Connery was back as 007 in ““Never Say Never Again” (1983), an independent production that enraged his old mentor, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.
The Bond franchise was still going strong more than five decades after Connery started it. The lavishly produced movies, packed with high-tech gadgetry and spectacular effects, broke box office records and grossed hundreds of millions of dollars.
Connery retired from movies after disputes with the director of his final outing, the forgettable “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” in 2003.
Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962. Before divorcing 11 years later, they had a son, Jason, who became an actor. He married French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he met playing golf, in 1975.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
Reuters contributed to this report.