The first James Bond, Scottish National Party (SNP) supporter and man who turned down a chance to play for Manchester United in his twenties, Sir Thomas Sean Connery is 85 today.
Yesterday, I passed the very same details as the paragraph above to a group of friends. Their responses ranged from “Ah, I didn’t realise his first name was Thomas!” and “Blimey, I hadn’t heard he’d had an offer to play for Man Utd!” to the idiotic “Bloody hell, did Sean Connery play James Bond?!”
Well the answer to all three is an unequivocal yes!
It is alleged the Edinburgh born actor, who has supported the centre-left political party SNP financially in the past, exclaimed “Oh bollocks! … Never mind. Right, who fancies a takeaway pizza?!” when the party failed to get independence for Scotland after the 2014 referendum.
However, I’d take that with a pinch of salt as it was alleged by his nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, whose cat was Member of Parliament (MP) for East Kirkhubby at the time.
The troublemaker Blofeld with the former MP for East Kirkhubby
Connery was offered a £25 a week contract to join Man Utd by manager Matt Busby, after his fellow Scot had seen him play in a charity match.
He had been a keen footballer who’d had a trial with Scottish club East Fife in his youth, but felt his future lay in acting so turned down the Bellshill born manager’s offer. Busby wasn’t enamoured at the snub by Edinburgh born actor. In particular his reasoning that he preferred acting.
When informed of his decision, Busby is said to have menacingly responded “Come, come Mr Connery. You derive as much pleasure from the game of football as I do!”
When weighing up his decision, Connery probably took into account that in 1950’s & 1960’s British football, the theatrical good luck term of “Break a leg” had an altogether different meaning.
it certainly wasn’t a game for the faint hearted in those times! No prisoners were taken during these matches, where heavy challenges and fights were the norm.
So in many ways you can’t fault Connery’s decision. I mean what would you rather do, carry out your job doing bedroom scenes opposite beautiful women like Honor Blackman, Ursula Andress and Tippi Hedren, or spend your time on a muddy football pitch being ‘kicked up a height’ by the likes of Dave Mackay, Billy Bremner and Tommy Smith?
It was a ‘no brainer’ for Connery who went on to play the iconic James Bond role between 1962-1971. He was, and remains, many people’s favourite actor in the role.
However, he isn’t everyone’s favourite Bond. For example, when I asked my daughter Rachel which Bond she liked best, she replied that it was the one she never got back off her landlord, for leaving her student house in a mess!
Sean Connery. Not Rachel’s ex-landlord (I don’t think anyway!)
As well as playing 007, the Scot starred in many other high profile movies including A Bridge Too Far, The Man Who Would Be King, The Name Of The Rose, Entrapment and Highlander to name a few.
He also starred in the Alfred Hitchcock film Marnie. She was the psychologically disturbed young woman played by Tippi Hedren, who was terrified of the colour scarlet,. It was a blow to Connery’s character as Marnie’s condition meant they were unable to ‘paint the town red’ together! …………… Terrible joke but it’s metaphorically accurate on a certain level!
In 1987 the suave Scotsmen won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the movie The Untouchables, playing a hard fisted Irish-American cop.
His is also said to be enormously proud of winning Best Insult of An Englishman Award in 1998 for telling the paparazzi to “Awa’ an bile yer heid! Or ah will gang round ‘n’ gie yer guidwife something tae pat hing her towels oan!”
That roughly translates as “Go away chaps! Or I will go around to your houses and give your good ladies something to hang their towels on!”
In addition to the two awards above, Connery has received two BAFTA Awards (one of them being a BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award) and three Golden Globes (including the Cecil B. DeMille Award and a Henrietta Award). He was knighted by the Queen in July 2000
Happy Birthday Sir Sean!
Kin th’ buckie wi’ a cratur chaser bring ye pure happiness, joy ‘n’ a bloody stoatin hangover th’morra mornin’! ……. Oh. I almost forgot. My dad asks if he can have his toupe tape back please?!
Sean Connery and other Bond’s given the Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon treatment. They are the two comedians doing the impersonations by the way, not a shampoo and conditioner brand.