Sean Connery: James Bond actor dies aged 90

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Sir Sean Connery has died at the age of 90, his family has said.

The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, being the first to bring the role to the big screen and appearing in seven of the spy thrillers.

He was largely regarded as being the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise, often being named as such in polls.

His Oscar came in 1988, when he was named best supporting actor for his role as an Irish cop in The Untouchables.

He was knighted by the Queen at Holyrood Palace in 2000.

In August, he celebrated his 90th birthday.

Sean Connery 007
Sean Connery. James Bond 007

Born Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930, in a tenement in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Connery was the son of Joseph, a factory worker, and Euphemia, nee McLean.

Joseph was of Irish descent, while Connery’s mother, a cleaner, was of Highland stock.

They had one other younger son, Neil, who would later work as a prison officer.

Not academically gifted, the young Tommy Connery loved sport and especially football.

He was a more than passable footballer who played for, among others, Bonnyrigg Rose juniors and Fet-Lor FC, a club which gained its name from an association with Fettes and Loretto schools – the former the alma mater of James Bond in the Ian Fleming novels.

Leaving school with no qualifications, Connery joined the Royal Navy at 16. It was to those Navy days that he owes his tattoos, ‘Scotland Forever’ and ‘Mum and Dad’ that are inked on his arms.

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In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Connery had a succession of jobs including coffin polisher, bricklayer, milkman for St Cuthbert Cooperative Society, and yes, a lifeguard at Portobello’s outdoor pool.

His acting career spanned decades and his many awards included an Oscar, two Bafta awards and three Golden Globes.

Sir Sean’s other films included The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.

HIS POLITICS

As a milkman, Connery came under the friendly guidance of full-time trade union official Alex Kitson, who later became a major figure in the TUC and Labour Party.

However Connery wanted an independent Scotland and moved towards nationalise.

Connery did not join the SNP until late in life, but even in the 1960s, when the party was the fourth force in Scottish politics, he was speaking out for independence.

In 1997 he campaigned in the Scottish devolution referendum of it he said:

“When I campaigned with Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats there were no Tories of course for the referendum vote, there was a spirit and a positive enthusiasm.

“If I was asked, ‘who do you think will win this election?’, my answer would be, ‘hopefully Scotland’.

“We are about to have our own parliament. If it is to succeed it must be democratic and all the voices of all the parties must be heard. We have waited nearly 300 years. My hope is that it will evolve with dignity and integrity and it will truly reflect the new voice of Scotland.”

On devolution Sean Connery stated after seventeen years of Tory rule mostly under Thatcher:

“There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system where there’s been 17 years of a Tory government and the people of Scotland have voted Socialist for 17 years. That hardly seems democratic.”

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