Sean Connery was born Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His mother, Euphamia C. Maclean, was a cleaning lady, and his father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and truck driver.
Before going into acting, Sean Connery had many different jobs, for example he was a milkman, laborer, coffin polisher, and bodybuilder. He was also a nude model for Edinburgh art students. He joined the Royal Navy, but was discharged because of medical problems. In 1953, he entered the Mr. Universe contest, finishing third in the tall man's division. He also trained as a dancer for 11 years under Swedish dancer Yat Malmgren.
At the age of 23, he had a choice between becoming a professional footballer or an actor, and even though he showed much promise as an athlete, he chose acting and said later said it was one of his more intelligent moves.
Sean Connery's first film appearnce was an uncredited role in Lilacs In the Spring (aka Let's Make Up) in 1954. For the next several years he would have bit parts in both movies and televison before getting his big break in 1962.
In the early 1960's, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, wanted Cary Grant for the title role. However, Cary Grant turned the role down. Fleming did not like the idea of Sean Connery as James Bond, feeling he was too unrefined. Despite Fleming's concerns he went with Connery and later said Connery was ideally cast in the role.
Sean Connery found fame and fortune as the suave, sophisticated British agent, James Bond 007. His first James Bond role was in Dr. No (1962). He would play James Bond in six more films: From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) and Diamonds are Forever (1971). He would reprise his role in 1983 in Never Say Never Again.
Sean Connery said his favorite Bond film was From Russia With Love (1963).
In addition to the James Bond films, Sean Connery also starred in such films as Marnie (1964), The Longest Day (1962), Murder on The Orient Express (1974), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), The Untouchables (1987), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt For Red October (1990), A Bridge to Far (1977) and the Great Train Robbery (1979).
Sean Connery turned down the title role in the original The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), which he later admitted was a huge mistake on his part. (the role went to Steve McQueen instead).
He also turned down the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings series because he didn't want to film down in New Zealand for 18 months, and could not understand the novels.
Sean Connery earned an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for playing Chicago cop, Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables (1987).
He was voted Sexiest Man of the Century in 1999 by People Magazine.
In 1999, he received the award for lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center Honors.
He was awarded Knighthood of the British Empire in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honors List for his services to Film Drama. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on July 5, 2000.
In 2006, he received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sean Connery married actress Diane Cilento in 1962 and they had one son, Jason Connery. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973. In 1975, he married his current spouse Micheline Roquebrune. He became a grandfather in 1997.
Sean Connery is one of the most talented actors of the past 50 years and left us with lines as "Bond, James Bond" and "shaken, not stirred."