How iconic James Bond role catapulted smooth-talking ex-milkman Sir Sean Connery to became the 'world's greatest Scot'

SEAN Connery will forever live on as the best-loved James Bond – after his turn in the iconic role set him on the path to becoming the "world's greatest Scot".

His ability to be both charming and brooding, combined with good looks and a distinct Scottish brogue won him legions of fans worldwide.

Roles in Highlander, The Untouchables and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade helped seal his position as one of Britain's best-known stars.

But it was the job of a lifetime playing the famous womaniser in the 1962 classic, Dr No, that saw him soar to the heights of a Hollywood star and dubbed the best Bond.

He started out as a milkman, and finished his career as one of the best known actors of all time, decades after uttering that iconic line…

James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said: “He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — 'The name’s Bond… James Bond.'"

The tragic news of his death at the age of 90 was confirmed by his family today, when he passed away in the Bahamas after being “unwell for some time”

Sir Sean's son Jason Connery told the BBC that his father died "peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family", adding a private ceremony will be planned once the Covid pandemic is over.

He said: "We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.

"A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor."

Thomas Sean Connery was born in Edinburgh's Fountainbridge area on August 25 1930.

The elder of two boys, he left school at an early age and took his first job as a milkman, complete with horse-drawn cart.

At 16 he enlisted in the Royal Navy but was discharged three years later on medical grounds after suffering with a stomach ulcer.

The keen bodybuilder took on a range of jobs, including a stint as a bricklayer, a lifeguard and an artist's model for the Edinburgh College of Art.

He entered into the 1950 Mr Universe contest – the tall man's division – under the name Thom Connery, coming in third.

But he found his love of acting when a friend suggested he try out for a production of South Pacific. He got a part in the sailors' chorus and so began his acting career.

The best quotes from his glittering five-decade career:

– On his similarities to 007

"There's one major difference between James Bond and me. He is able to sort out problems."

– On retaining his accent

"I am not an Englishman, I was never an Englishman, and I don't ever want to be one. I am a Scotsman. I was a Scotsman and I will always be one."

– On Scottish independence

"I've always been hopeful about Scotland's prospects. And I now believe more than ever that Scotland is within touching distance of achieving independence and equality."

– On love

"Love may not make the world go round, but I must admit that it makes the ride worthwhile."

– On life while in character as James Bond in Goldfinger

"My dear girl, there are some things that just aren't done, such as drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That's just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs."

– On reprising the role of Indiana Jones's father in the fourth film

The author of James Bond, Ian Fleming, almost scuppered Connery's turn as the famous spy – dubbing him an "overgrown stuntman" not refined enough for the role.

However Connery's swagger as he portrayed the charismatic character won over Fleming entirely, before having the same effect on a legion of Bond fans.

Fleming was so impressed he honoured Connery by writing in a Scottish ancestry for the spy in later books.

Daniel Craig, the current Bond, paid tribute to Connery today, saying: “The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.”

Connery played Bond in seven films – Dr No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

He quit the role after You Only Live Twice, frustrated by the repetitive plots, but was enticed back after his successor George Lazenby failed to fill his shoes.

Most of his subsequent successes were as part of ensemble casts, in films such as The Man Who Would Be King, Murder On The Orient Express and A Bridge Too Far.

He is also fondly remembered for his part two years later as the father of Harrison Ford's whip-cracking hero in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, the third instalment in the hugely popular franchise.

He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — 'The name’s Bond… James Bond.'

In 1989 the US magazine People voted him Sexiest Man Alive, to which the 59-year-old replied: "Well, there aren't many sexy dead men, are there?"

The 1990s brought performances in The Hunt For Red October (1990), Dragonheart (1996) and Entrapment, the 1999 love story/thriller with Catherine Zeta-Jones, which Connery also produced.

By now he was firmly regarded as an elder statesman of the film industry and in 2000 was knighted by the Queen – an honour said to have been delayed by his vocal support for the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Leading tributes in his beloved Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.

“He will be remembered best as James Bond – for many, the classic 007 – but his roles were many and varied."

Connery, once voted the "greatest living Scot", received the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, when he confirmed his retirement from acting.

Throughout his career he remained relatively guarded about his private life but was forced to deny claims of domestic abuse made by his first wife, the Australian actress Diane Cilento, before her death in 2011.

He and Cilento were married for 11 years and had one son, the actor Jason Connery.

Connery is succeed by Jason and his second wife, French artist Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975 and who regularly accompanied him on the red carpet.

Connery never lost his much-imitated accent despite his many years living abroad. From his home in the Bahamas, he remained a fervent supporter of independence for Scotland.

As one of the most high-profile supporters of Scottish independence, many expected Connery to make an appearance on the campaign trail in the run-up to the historic vote on September 18 2014.

His words were used to galvanise support at the launch of the Yes campaign two years previously, when the star declared in a message: "The people of Scotland are the best guardians of their own future."

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