Imagine being so wildly magnetic, athletic, and talented that you have the power to choose between becoming a soccer star and a movie star.
That’s what it was like to be Sean Connery!
The famed Scottish actor was a bodybuilder and soccer standout when he discovered a passion for theater. He had a decision to make: accept an offer to play professionally for Manchester United, or pursue acting.
“I realized that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23,” he later explained. “I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.”
It takes moxie to make memorable moves, and Connery had it. Here’s how:
Moxie makes its mark.
Connery found his way to the stage in 1951. Well, backstage, that is. He was a competitive bodybuilder at the time and was helping out backstage at the King’s Theatre as a way to bring in a little extra cash. In 1953, he made his way onto the stage by landing a chorus boy role in South Pacific. It didn’t take long for the director to recognize Connery’s magnetic charm and innate talent. Connery was worked his way steadily up to a featured role.
By 1954, Connery was serious about acting and began to hone his craft. He continued to work in theatre and added television and movie roles to his resume.
Then came Connery’s big break. He was cast in the role of (say it with me now!) Bond … James Bond.
The wife of the Bond films’ casting director Albert Broccoli and the girlfriend of Bond creator Ian Fleming convinced the men that Connery had just the right smoldering spy vibe for the part. Connery, despite reservations about committing to a film series, took on the part and played the character in a total of seven films, all of which were huge box office successes.
More importantly, Connery created an unforgettable character.
Moxie knows which Bonds to break.
Everybody wanted to be — or be with — James Bond. Everybody except Sean Connery. He grew to loathe the character and even wished him dead.
Bond made Connery a star, but he also made him a prisoner.
“If you were his friend in these early days you didn’t raise the subject of Bond,” said close friend actor Michael Caine. “He was … a much better actor than just playing James Bond, but he became synonymous with Bond. He’d be walking down the street and people would say, ‘Look, there’s James Bond.’ That was particularly upsetting to him.”
Even while playing Bond, Connery sought out challenging roles with noted directors like Alfred Hitchcock and respected actors like Audrey Hepburn. He could have settled into life as Bond and coasted along on fame and fortune, but instead, he leveraged the opportunity to challenge himself and grow in his craft. That takes moxie.
Moxie knows when it’s time to go.
Connery’s successful career lasted well into the early 2000s and included The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and The Untouchables, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
But by the time he shot A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) Connery was just done. The movie was not a success at the box office and Connery had a terrible time during the production. He frequently clashed with the director — whom he called “insane” — and after it was all over decided to retire from acting rather than risk going through such an experience ever again.
Connery was a man of his word. Not even Steven Spielberg could talk him into having one more go in another Indiana Jones movie.
Connery spent the last decade and a half of his life enjoying himself and died peacefully in his Caribbean home on Oct. 31, 2020. He’d surely be irritated to be remembered most for his role as James Bond.
How will you remember him most?
Sean Connery’s Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Connery
Sean Connery’s Filmography Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Connery_filmography
James Bond’s Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrayal_of_James_Bond_in_film