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No. 12, December 2000
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Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.

Sean Connery
A biography
Based on the German book by Siegfried Tesche. Get it from
Amazon.de
 
In 1962, Sean Connery created the James Bond-myth with the shooting of the film Dr. No. He not only remains the best Bond ever, but also the male sex symbol. Furthermore, he is still one of the most popular actors in the movie business. The biography of the nationalist Scotsman by Siegfried Tesche provides extensive information, especially on all films with Connery, starting with 1957's No Road Back. Tesche also gives some insight into the actor's private life and in his relation to politics - Connery fights for Scottish independence.
 
Thomas (Sean) Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1930, as the son of a truck driver whose ancestors had come from Ireland. In the street in which the Connery's lived, there was no hot water. At the age of nine, Sean began to deliver milk before he went to school. In 1944, Sean quit school in order to work in a dairy on a regular basis. In an interview in 1999, he said about his experiences with women as a milkman that shortly after the war, when men were still away from home, it had been very interesting. In 1946, he enrolled himself in the Navy for twelve years because he wanted to see the world. But he was only on duty in huts in Portsmouth. After three years of service, he was discharged with a stomach ulcer and received a small pension.
 
For some time, he drove horse carriages. Considered an invalid veteran, he got the right to go on a training program. He wanted to become a furniture polisher. For 18 months, he worked in this job, but besides this, he began to exercise as a body builder and a weight lifter. In 1950, on the advice of a friend, he inscribed in the Dunedin Amateur Weight Lifting Club. At the Edinburgh School of Art in Lauriston he posed as a model. He also tried to start a career as a sportsman. He worked as a cement mixer and a bricklayer on building sites and as bouncer in a club. Connery spent the summer as a swimming pool attendant and life-saver at the Scottish Portobello. At the age of twenty, he became a football (soccer) professional. Unfortunately, at that time, there was not much money to make and, therefore, he also had a small job at the printing house of the Edinburgh Evening News where, on a daily basis, he melted lead and produced printing plates. During this period, he continued to train his body. In 1953, he participated in the Mr. Universe Competition at the London Scala Theatre where he made it to third place in the tall men's class, the category for men over 1,80 m (Connery measures 1,89 m).
 
Still in 1953, Connery, accidentally, found his way into acting. When he participated in the Mr. Universe Competition in London, he was looking for a new job. According to Sean, he got an offer from Manchester United but, at 22, he found himself too old to play football. Somebody told him that people were to be hired for the choir of the musical South Pacific. Connery got the job and, from June 1953 on, he played for the following three months at the London Theatre in Drury Lane. He sang in the choir of There is Nothing like a Dame and toured for 14 months through England and Scotland. There, he also played the role of lieutenant Buzz Adams.
 
The American actor Robert Henderson, a colleague from the choir who later became a theatre director, mentioned Ibsen and his plays towards Connery. Immediately, Sean went to a library and began to read his works. According to Henderson, in contrast to a lot of young men who want to become stars but are bone idle, Connery worked hard to improve his acting. Sean himself considers the years of 1951 to 1956 as his learning period in which he educated himself. Connery states that Henderson also gave him the advice to quit football and suggested a list of books to read. During one year on tour, Connery spent a lot of time in the public libraries of the different places he went to. He was fascinated by the theatre, this world of spirit and intellect, which was so different from what he knew. In those times, he changed his first name from Thomas into Sean. In his youth, he had often been called Tammy or, because of his height, Big Tam. In 1956 and 1957, Connery had a series of smaller and bigger appearances in television and big screen films, among them are Requiem for a Heavyweight, No Road back and Operation Tiger. In 1957, the 20th Century Fox took him under contract.
 
Also in 1957, Sean Connery met the actress Diane Cilento. She was born in 1933 in the Australian Brisbane. They met on the set of the theatre play Anna Christie in Oxford. Diane was the daughter of Sir Ralph West Cilento, an authority in the field of tropical diseases and, at the same time, a lawyer. Her mother was a gynaecologist. Diane had studied at the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts and at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. In 1952, Cilento had obtained her first role in a feature film. The same year, she made her debut at the theatre. An impressive background for the working-class son Sean. In 1960, Sean and Diane met again for the television movie based on Anna Christie. They fell in love. Cilento was then still married to the Italian Andrea Volpe with whom she had a daughter born in 1957.
 
Diane and Sean took lessons in the technique of wordless communication and the adequate rhythm, based on the concept of movement by the Hungarian dancer Rudolf von Laban with the Swede Yat Malmgren, a former dancer of the Kurt Joos Ballet Ensemble. Connery's distinctive way of walking and moving dates back to this time. It is said that it fascinated the Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli to the point that it was decisive in their offering him the leading role of 007.
 
On November 30, 1962, Cileno and Connery married in Gibraltar. In Januay 1963, their son Jason was born in Rome. The same year, Diane was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Tom Jones. In 1968, Cileno published her first novel, Manipulator, after the Bond-author Ian Fleming had encouraged her to begin writing. The book's cover was designed by Connery. Four years later, she published her second novel, Hybrid. In 1973, Diane and Sean were divorced. It is said that Sean's overloaded agenda had been a decisive factor in their separation. In 1985, Cilento married the English author Anthony Shaffer, with whom she lives today on a big farm in Queensland, Australia, where she works for different theatres.
 
In 1962, Sean Connery had 58 days of shooting for his first Bond, Dr. No. Already in the following year, when Dr. No was played in the cinemas, he started shooting for From Russia With Love. The same year, he also played in Die Strohpuppe. In 1964, he shot Goldfinger in London and in Andermatt, Switzerland. In 1965, he was in front of the cameras for Thunderball. In 1966 followed his last Bond, You Only Live Twice. In between, he shot other films such as The Golden Rolls-Royce and Simson ist nicht zu schlagen.
 
After his career as the Bond character, Connery successfully moved on and shot movies such as Shalako (1968), Diamonds are Forever (1971), Zardoz (1973), Meteor (1977), Outland (1980), The Untouchables (1987), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1988), The Rock (1996) and Entrapment (1999), to mention just a few.
 
In 1970, Connery met Micheline Boglio Roquebrune at a golf tournament in Casablanca. Born in 1931, the French-Moroccan painter had three children from a previous marriage. For Micheline, it was love at first sight. She maintains that she did not know then that he was an actor. In 1975, Sean and Micheline married in Gibraltar and then traveled to Casablanca for their honeymoon. Connery's second wife is considered a skillful opposite number in negotiations and has often negotiated Sean's contracts with studios and filed lawsuits against producers and agents for him.
 
By the way, Sean Connery has a brother, Neil, born in 1938. He has worked for years as a plasterer in Edinburgh. In 1967, an Italian film producer learned about his existence and used him in a catastrophically-bad movie. From time to time, Neil still takes small parts and has guest appearances in cheap British productions such as The Body Stealers or in the television series Taggart. In the documentation Sean Connery's Edinburgh, he served as a light double for his brother. He lives with his family outside Edinburgh.
 
New films (added on October 30, 2002): Finding Forrester, 2000 and The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, 2003.
_____________________________________

The information on this page is based on Siegfried Tesche's biography of Sean Connery, published by the Henschel Verlag in 2000, 207 p. Get it from Amazon.de (in German). For more movie reviews: Film.
 


Dr. No., 1963.
Get it from
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de

  

Goldfinger, 1964.
Get it from
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk
- Amazon.de 

 

From Russia With
Love
, 1964.
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.de

 

Thunderball, 1965.
Get it from
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.de
 
 

You Only Live
Twice
, 1967.
- Amazon.com
- Amazon.de 

 

Diamonds are
Forever
, 1971.
- Amazon.com 
- Amazon.co.uk 

 

Never Say Never
Again
, 1983.
Get it from
- Amazon.com 
 

 
 

 
 

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 12, December 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  Archives
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.