Culture

RIP Sean Connery: Iconic James Bond Pioneer Actor Dies at 90

Sean Connery arrives at the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award event honoring Al Pacino in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 7, 2007. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Sean Connery, the most iconic James Bond actor, is now having drinks with the Man Upstairs. The acting giant passed away in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas. His loss is tragic, but he lived to the age of 90.

Before his iconic roles as James Bond, Indiana Jones’ father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), and more, Connery worked as a milkman, laborer, artist’s model, bodybuilder, and sailor in the British Royal Navy. At the age of 23, he chose acting over becoming a professional soccer player.

Connery pioneered the role of 007 in Dr. No (1962). He embodied the iconic British spy at the height of the Cold War, launching the James Bond series that continues to this day.

As a boy growing up in the 1990s, I loved the action, wit, and sophistication of the James Bond films. That masculine image of a sophisticated spy sipping martinis, outsmarting the villain, and always getting the girl set a fun — albeit morally questionable — role model for modern manhood. James Bond has inspired boys for generations.

Sean Connery’s role as the cantankerous father of Indiana Jones set a wonderful foil for Harrison Ford. Connery also embodied a seasoned and inspiring King Arthur in First Knight (1995). His role as the experienced adventurer Alan Quartermain lent gravitas and fun to the campy film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003), his last full acting role.

The world is deeply in debt to Sean Connery’s acting genius. This Halloween, pull up Dr. NoGoldfinger, or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and celebrate this acting giant.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.