Connery's role in the
Disney film Darby O'Gill And the Little People brought him
to the attention of Bond producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry
Saltzman. Abandoning plans to cast a major star as 007, they
interviewed the relatively unknown Connery, and came away
impressed with his forceful demeanor and "cat-like" grace.
Over the objections of United Artists, who felt Connery was
not sufficiently marketable, and even Ian Fleming, who felt
he was too unrefined, they cast the young Scot as Bond in
1962's Dr. No.
The rest, as they say,
Under the tutelage
of director Terence Young, Connery was soon wearing Saville
Row suits and drinking Dom Perignon with the best of the bluebloods.
Yet throughout his tenure as Bond, he maintained an earthy
masculinity that forced audiences worldwide to reconsider
their stereotypes of the British male.
Connery's Bond was
a revelation to audiences who were used to straight-shooting,
clean-living heroes. His raw machismo and ruthlessness won
over fans of Fleming's novels, while his canny infusion of
wry humor helped sell the character to even wider audiences.
To millions of moviegoers around the world, Sean Connery was
That, ultimately, was
the problem as far as Connery was concerned. Typecast as Bond,
but lacking any real creative control over the series, or
what he felt would be ample financial compensation, Connery
soon tired of the public's unceasing demands on his time and
He left the role after
You Only Live Twice in 1967.
After George Lazenby's single
outing in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Connery was enticed
back into the shoulder holster for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever
with the promise of a fee in excess of one million dollars.
He donated that to a Scottish educational trust that continues
to this day.