This past week, the 85th Academy Awards included a tribute to the James Bond movie franchise, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. “We are very happy to include a special sequence on our show saluting the Bond films on their 50th birthday,” said producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “Starting with ‘Dr. No’ back in 1962, the 007 movies have become the longest-running motion picture franchise in history and a beloved global phenomenon.” It's a mega-franchise that's based upon the raw machismo sex appeal of its lead character as much as anything else. Cool. Confident. Always "up" to take advantage of the endless women who threw themselves at him. The original 007 still remains a sex symbol: Sean Connery. As the blue terry clad image from the movie Goldfinger highlightsbelow, 007 was a hunk of handsome (and hairy) man. And many of the women in the audience (and more men than would admit it back then) enjoyed the beefcake as much as the action.
There's no denying that long before his current incarnation as a an grizzled old Scottish sage, Sean Connery was a major sex symbol during the 1960's and 1970's playing the spy. In fact, Sean was voted People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1989. But young and sexy Sean was turning heads long before James Bond, as VGMH will take a look at below...
Thomas (Sean) Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1930. By the age of 9, Sean began to deliver milk before he went to school. In 1944 at 14, he quit school in order to work full-time delivering milk. But he also seems to have delivered more than milk to ladies...in a 1999 interview, Sean mentioned his "experiences" with the route's neighborhood women (working as a milkman) while their men were away from home serving in the war. In 1946, he enrolled himself in the Navy for 12 years because he wanted to see the world. But he and the navy didn't seem to agree with one another, and after three years of service was discharged with a stomach ulcer. But he and the navy didn't seem to agree with one another, and after three years of service was discharged with a stomach ulcer.
Trying to find himself while making ends meet to survive. Sean drove horse carriages,was a swimming pool attendant, and football (soccer) player. He also began to exercise and work out in gyms. In 1950, on the advice of a gym buddy, he joined the Dunedin Amateur Weight Lifting Club. During off hours, he picked up extra cash at the Edinburgh School of Art where he posed as a nude and semi-nude male model (photograph, ri. In 2007, a painting of Sean was made available at auction (above, left). The picture was painted in 1952, when Connery was just 22, by jazz musician Al Fairweather who was a student at the art school.
Athletic Connery continued to train his body. In 1953, he participated in the Mr. Universe Competition at the London Scala Theatre where he made it to third place in the tall men's class. In the lineup photo (above), that's Sean wearing the white posing trunks in the center. It was also in 1953 that he found his way into acting. When he participated in the Mr. Universe Competition, he was looking for a new job. Other competitors told him they were working for the choir of the musical South Pacific. Stage legend has it that Connery took off his shirt, got the job, and he played for three months at the London Theatre in Drury Lane. He also sang in the choir of There is Nothing like a Dame and toured for 14 months through England and Scotland.
American actor Robert Henderson, a friend from the choir who later became a theatre director, encouraged Sean to act. Sean himself considers the years of 1951 to 1956 as his learning period in which he educated himself. Between 1956 and 1957, Connery had a series of appearances in television and big screen films, among them are Requiem for a Heavyweight, No Road back and Operation Tiger. In 1957, 20th Century Fox took him under contract. By 1959 he was the star of Darby O'Gill and the Little People (photo, right) when he was loaned toDisney, and s already discussed in a previous blog post, Sean had a minor role in Tarzan's Greatest Adventure.