Sir Sean Connery turns 86 today. Here are 23 facts you might not know about the Edinburgh-born actor
1. Despite being known as Sean, the actor’s first name is Thomas, and he was referred to as Tommy in his youth.
2. His first job was as a milkman with the St Cuthbert’s Co-Operative Society in Edinburgh.
3. Sir Sean worked as a coffin polisher before going into acting.
4. He reportedly placed third in the Mr Universe contest in 1953 although there is some dispute over whether he finished third in the Junior class, or failed to place in the ‘Tall Man’ classification.
5. He turned out for Edinburgh junior side Bonnyrigg Rose in his youth.
6. He has a tattoo reading ‘Scotland forever’ which he got at the age of 16 when he enrolled in the Royal Navy.
7. Connery attended dancing lessons for 11 years under the tutelage of Swedish dance Yat Malmgren.
8. He donated his $250,000 salary from his role as King Richard in 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves to charity.
9. His film production company, Fountainbridge Films, is named after the area of Edinburgh where he was born and grew up.
10. Following his discharge from the Merchant Navy due to stomach ulcers, he worked as a nude model for art students in Edinburgh
11. He received the Freedom of Edinburgh in 1991.
12. He turned down an offer to portray Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series claiming he couldn’t understand the novels and wasn’t keen on filming in New Zealand for 18 months.
13. His favourite Bond film is From Russia with Love, as confirmed to ABC News in 2002.
14. Connery turned down the chance to play the role of the Architect in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. The role eventually went to Helmut Bakaitis.
15. Bond author Ian Fleming was initially against the idea of the ‘unrefined’ Scots actor portraying 007, and was said to favour Cary Grant. But he later changed his mind admitting Connery was ‘ideal’ for the role after seeing his performance in Dr No - and adapted future novels to give Bond a Scots background.
16. Sir Matt Busby is said to have offered Connery a contract at Manchester United in the early 1950s, but Connery turned it down, believing that there was more career longevity in acting than football.
17. He met fellow actor Michael Caine in 1954, during a party for the King’s Theatre production of South Pacific. The pair have remained friends ever since.
18. He was once stopped by a policeman for speeding. The cop’s name? Sergeant James Bond.
19. During his time as a milkman, he delivered milk to Fettes School in Edinburgh - the same school attended by James Bond in Fleming’s novels, following his expulsion from Eton.
20. Connery was considered for a cameo in 2012 Bond movie ‘Skyfall’, but director Sam Mendes and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli felt it would be ‘too distracting’ for the audience. Albert Finney was selected instead.
21. Steven Seagal once broke Connery’s wrist in a martial arts lesson during filming for Never Say Never Again.
22. Connery was asked to portray King Edward I in Braveheart, but was too busy working on Just Cause. Patrick McGoohan took the role instead.
23. His 93rd and last film was 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentleman - although he officially retired in 2006.