So, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for a couple of days, you have probably heard the sad news that actor Sean Connery passed away of old age at the ripe innings of ninety years.
Some of these deaths of people you’ve never met hit you harder than others. The David Bowie effect. How much you felt you knew them, or admired them, for their body of work. How pivotal they were to the imagination and creative landscape of your growing-up years. I must admit, Roger Moore was Bond when I started watching movies, but I quickly caught up with the prior cannon via television – rather surprised to find there was an earlier actor in the same role. A concept I quickly grew familiar with when Doctor Who started playing the old actor switcheroo on me.
Sean Connery was a familiar face from plenty of 60s movies, along with one of his best friends, Michael Caine (still with us, I had to check). And then there were more mature roles such as Time Bandits, and his star turn in the Untouchables as the wily old street cop who teaches Eliot Ness the Chicago way. For science fiction films, there was Outland … Or High Noon in space.
There probably weren’t many clueless teenagers of that generation who didn’t want to be the laconic Connery Bond, always ready with a slurred quip and irresistible to members of the opposite sex, able to dispatch evil enemies with a careless tap of a plugged-in electric fan into a bath. We were shocking.
Sean also appeared in a few films that didn’t do so well towards the end of his career (as well as turning down roles such as Obi-Wan Kenobi which could, in hindsight, have made him a lot richer).
There was the Avengers TV series remade as the 1998 film where he played an insane weather-obsessed villain. And the cherry on the cake was his role as Allan Quatermain in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie based on the steampunk comic of the same name by Alan Moore. This did so badly it was the film that convinced him to retire, famously remarking, ‘I have had enough of this shit. I’m not working with these arseholes anymore.’
Sean died peacefully in his sleep in his expensive Bahamas villa, warm and loved by his family, having lived one heck of a life.
May I go out in such style in my dotage. I’ll even take the island villa in the Bahamas.