It was inevitable. As I read of Sir Sean Connery's ailing health in recent years, I would check BBC.com for news of his passing. But then, I would also think that he'd last another five, maybe even ten years.
I was in bed reading. It was just past midnight, Sunday November 1st when my wife and I heard two rapid knocks on our bedroom door before my daughter burst in and said; "I just read on social media that Sean Connery died! I didn't want to tell you, but I didn't want you to read it tomorrow and be upset."
Slightly stunned by the news, I sat there thinking about it, letting it sink in. I looked up BBC.com. Nothing yet. I checked Instagram. News was already coming through, with links to comments by Connery's son, Jason.
Sean Connery passed away in his sleep, aged 90, at his house in the Bahamas. Many of his family members were there. It's what I call a million-dollar ending. We should all be so lucky to check out that way.
While Roger Moore was the Bond that I grew up with, and the one who made me sit up and take notice of this Bond fellow, it was Connery's earlier portrayal of OO7 that turned me into a life-long Bond fan. Reading the Fleming books a few years later, in the early '80s, Connery was the Bond that I pictured coming off the page. The dark hair, cruel good looks, and cold manner when on the job were embodied by Connery in his first Bond flick Dr No (Dir: Terence Young, United Artists, 1962). This was honed a great deal by Terence Young, who taught Connery about fine tailoring, fine dining, and other attributes that made up the literary character of James Bond.
Certainly, Sean Connery had his Scots accent rather than a British one, but it was a deep voice which gave him a commanding and confident presence on-screen. He moved like a panther, as has often been said, and he had a certain magnetism about him, all of which helped give this first Bond film a promising start to what the Producers hoped would be a franchise.
I was at the Designing OO7 - Fifty Years of Bond Style exhibition seven years ago and, after seeing various exhibits of props from the Bond movies, I continued on to a room to my right. I parted a beaded curtain which led into a large room that had been done up to look like a casino. As I stepped inside, I saw a roulette table and up above, there were a few large-screen monitors showing scenes from various Bond films and I happened to walk in just as Sylvia Trench (Eunice Gayson, the FIRST Bond Girl) asks her opponent his name while playing against him in a high-stakes game of chemin de fer.
Connery's introduction in this scene is the stuff of movie legend and his almost world-weary delivery of his name has been much used by other Bond actors, but never bettered.