British film actor, who rose to fame in the 1960s as the first cinematic James Bond and has since maintained his status as a popular screen star in a variety of very different roles.
Born in Edinburgh, Connery worked as a coffin polisher after leaving school. He gained his stage breakthrough as a chorus boy in the musical South Pacific (1951) and shot to stardom in films as the first James Bond in Dr No (1962), after both Cary Grant and Noël Coward had turned the role down. Connery played Bond a further seven times. However, by this time the role, although a moneyspinner, had become stereotyped and he moved on to more demanding parts – as an obsessive lover in Alfred Hitchcock's Marnie (1964), as a prison-camp rebel in Sidney Lumet's The Hill (1965), as an ageing Robin Hood in Robin and Marian (1976), and as a medieval monk-detective in The Name of the Rose (1986).
Connery won an Oscar for best supporting actor portraying a tough but honest police officer in The Untouchables (1987), which starred Kevin Costner. As ‘Indy’ Jones's professorial father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), he revelled in parodying his screen persona. By the time a balding Connery had reached his sixties, cinema polls were still rating him as one of the world's sexiest superstars. Latterly, he has also become known as a high-profile supporter of the movement for Scottish national independence.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).