IO – James Bond actor Sean Connery died at the age of 90 in Nassau the Bahamas on Friday 30 October.
Sir Sean Connery’s widow Micheline Roquebrune had confirmed that the late James Bond star had been diagnosed with dementia.
“It was no life for him,” Roquebrune told The Mail on Sunday.
“He had dementia and it took its toll on him. He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.”
She added the actor “was not able to express himself” in the period leading up to his death.
Sir Sean and Roquebrune, a Moroccan-French painter, married in 1975.
“At least he died in his sleep and it was just so peaceful. I was with him all the time and he just slipped away. It was what he wanted.”
She added it would be “very hard without him” and described him as a “model of a man”.
Connery was said to have been the finest choice to play the role of James Bond, the British secret agent in Ian Flemings’ novels.
In fact, the family of the late Roger Moore, another Bond actor, also praised Connery, on a social media account.
“How infinitely sad to hear the news that Sir Sean Connery has passed away. He and Roger were friends for many decades and Roger always maintained Sean was the best-ever James Bond. RIP”
Pierce Brosnan, who himself played the role of 007 in later films, posted online that Sir Sean was “my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself.”
Connery earned his chance as Bond when the producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman watched him walk.
“We signed him without a screen test,” Saltzman said as quoted by The New York Times. 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 i n 1962.
As a more violent, moody and dangerous man than the James Bond in Fleming’s books, Connery 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).
He 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.
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.
Connery won a best-actor award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for “The Name of the Rose” (1986), based on the Umberto Eco novel, in which he played a crime-solving medieval monk, and the Academy Award as best supporting actor for his performance as an honest cop on the corrupt Chicago police force in “The Untouchables” (1987). He taught himself to understand that character — Jim Malone, a cynical, streetwise police officer whose only goal is to be alive at the end of his shift — by noting the other characters’ attitudes toward him.
After reading Malone’s scenes, he told The Times in 1987, he read the scenes in which his character did not appear. “That way,” he said, “I get to know what the character is aware of and, more importantly, what he is not aware of. The trap that bad actors fall into is playing information they don’t have.”
Rest in peace, Sir Sean Coonery. You’ll be missed. (rp)