Sean Connery is James Bond in 'Dr. No' (1962).

For, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: By ‘GOAT’ in the headline above, I refer, of course, to Sean Connery being the ‘Greatest Of All Time’ — among James Bonds, that is. Younger fans of Daniel Craig may disagree but it’s not just my opinion. A British publication called Radio Times did a poll last month, asking which actor best portrayed Ian Fleming’s spy with the license to kill since the movie franchise began in 1962.

More than 14,000 fans took part and after evaluating the results in a system of rounds, Radio Times crowned Connery the winner after he beat out Craig 56 percent to 43 percent. For the record, Pierce Brosnan came in third, followed by George Lazenby (who starred in only one entry, ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,’), Timothy Dalton (who made only two) and Roger Moore. These actors’ efforts comprise the official Bond series, of course. The poll didn’t acknowledge the 1954 ‘Casino Royale’ episode of the anthology TV series ‘Climax!’ or the 1967 ‘Casino Royale’ spoof.

Connery is also the actor that played Bond the most often, starring in seven films, including the out-of-franchise ‘Never Say Never Again’ in 1983. Craig’s fifth go-round will be ‘No Time to Die,’ to be released in November (maybe).

Connery, who turned 90 a couple of weeks ago and has been retired from acting for 17 years, has always been my favorite; I saw the first Bond movie when I was a high school freshman and never missed on after that. My only interview with him was in the company of some 60 journalists at a junket for ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ in 1989. In this excerpt, Connery was asked about stunt work and that led to these comments on his Bond flicks.


The official James Bonds, from left: Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Connery and Daniel Craig.

A questioner asked about the stunts in “The Last Crusade” and if Connery sustained any long-lasting injuries from his earlier films. “Harrison did more stunts than I did in the film. Yes, he did many. But he’s three, eight months younger than me. I don’t have any injuries (that I) only tried to ski once in my life and I’ve still got the bad shoulder from it. And the skiing was nothing to do with a movie. And I don’t think I have too many emotional scars from making movies either.”


Several times during the interview, Connery pointed out that he’s really much younger than his character in the film. He is in fact only 12 years older than Ford, and only seven years older than Dustin Hoffman, whose father he plays in the upcoming “Family Business.” But Connery says he is stirred, not shaken by his elder statement status and has no problem with his recent character roles on the screen.


Asked if he would consider playing the father of James Bond, Connery replied, “Would I play James Bond’s father. I haven’t thought about it. They haven’t asked me. Again, it would depend of on how well is was conceived and who was doing it. But, why not?” After a pause he added, “It would cost them.”




Connery's out-of-franchise seventh go-round as Bond was released in 1983; six years later he was named People Magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive.'


Comparing James Bond, whom Connery played in seven movies, to Indiana Jones, Connery said, “It’s quite difficult … because they are similar in their ways, in their extravagance. And (Jones or Bond is) invariably the hero in a situation that he has to unscramble and resolve himself, and it always looks as if it isn’t possible.


“The only difference is the sexual relationships with Indiana Jones and the women, (who) are invariably young pretty birds throwing themselves at him and (then) him rather shyly dealing with them, and Bond would probably have adored to have had them for breakfast.”


Connery added that he approves of Timothy Dalton as the current 007 and liked “The Living Daylights,” which he applauded for its attention to character over hardware.


As for a possible future reteaming of Indiana Jones and father, Connery reiterated what Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford have said before, that “The Last Crusade” was planned as the last of the Indiana Jones series and I presume he knows better than anybody if there are going to be any more. If he says it’s the last one I presume it is. Nobody’s ever said anything to me about the possibility of doing another film.”