Iconic Scottish actor Sean Connery has died at the age of 90, according to a new statement by family. The performer known as the first person to ever wear the mantle of James Bond passed away surrounded by family in Nassau, the Bahamas, after a long illness. According to son Jason Connery, Sir Sean passed away peacefully in his sleep, after an acting career stretching more than half a century.
“We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time,” Jason Connery said in a statement. “A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.”
Connery was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1930, and began working backstage at the King’s Theatre in the early 1950s, which quickly led into acting roles. He was seen internationally as Irishman Michael McBride in Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People, but then achieved international fame after first playing the spy known as James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No. Connery would return to play Bond six more times, in films from Goldfinger and From Russia With Love to Thunderball.
Connery’s subsequent roles in Hollywood over the course of the next five decades are too numerous to list, including the likes of The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Entrapment, The Man Who Would Be King, The Rock and his turn as Indiana Jones’ father Henry Jones Sr. in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as hard-nosed copy Jimmy Malone in 1988’s The Untouchables.
Connery’s suave demeanor and Scottish brogue made him a beloved figure in pop culture for decades, even after his retirement from active performances in the mid-2000s. He was even a popular figure for impersonation, as evidenced by SNL’s long-running “celebrity Jeopardy” series of sketches, in which Connery was always the lone, unchanging contestant. He will be missed by film fans the world over.