The name’s Bong as Sir Sean Connery visits NY stock exchange

He is a legendary actor, an octogenarian sex symbol and a Scottish icon – and now Edinburgh’s most famous son, Sir Sean Connery, has added another string to his bow.

The 81-year-old took to the trading floor to ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange in his first public appearance in two years.

The Bond legend, who is based in the Bahamas, was in New York to launch Ever to Excel – a film abut the 600-year history of St Andrews University for which he has provided the narration.

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And Stock Exchange bosses invited him and St Andrews principal professor Louise Richardson to ring the bell in recognition of the university’s milestone.

He joins figures such as Nelson Mandela, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Liza Minnelli in having graced the ornate bell podium.

Prof Richardson said: “Sir Sean has been among us and very involved with the film right the way through the creative process. So it was wonderful for him to come out and support the film like this in New York. And to be with him when we rang the bell this morning was a very memorable experience.

“Everywhere he went he was mobbed by people wanting to talk to him and take pictures and he dealt with the attention very well.

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“He is still very energetic and was in great form and still has a real passion and commitment to Scotland.

“I hope the bell will ring in great financial results, not only for those on the floor but also for our 600th anniversary campaign in the years ahead.”

It was a welcome return for Sir Sean, who has been out of the public eye for two years, a hiatus which had led to concerns over his health. He was born in Fountainbridge in 1930. Before he found fame, he famously worked as a milkman before joining the navy and becoming a life model at the Edinburgh College of Art.

In 1962, he made his cinematic breakthrough as James Bond in Dr No.

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His last public appearance was at the 2010 Edinburgh Film Festival. In the same year he cited undisclosed health reasons for missing a court hearing in Spain.

Last year he pulled out of the Scottish fashion extravaganza Dressed to Kilt in New York and his publicist said he had advised her he had retired from making public appearances.

Sir Sean provided his voice for the animated from, Sir Billie, but the first international screening of the film went ahead without him in San Francisco last month.