Sean Connery, the Scottish-born actor who first portrayed British secret agent James Bond in movies and defined the iconic character for decades to follow, has died at the age of 90, the film franchise confirmed Saturday.
Mr. Connery died in his sleep overnight while in the Bahamas, the BBC first reported. He had been “unwell for some time,” his son, Jason Connery, told the British news organization.
The first star to depict MI-6 agent 007 in motion pictures, Mr. Connery played the British spy in several films released as part of the series beginning with “Dr. No” in 1962.
Mr. Connery played Bond in subsequent films released during the next decade including “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds Are Forever.”
He reprised the role for “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, and later went on to iconic roles in blockbusters outside the Bond franchise, playing Soviet defector Capt. Marko Ramius in 1990’s “The Hunt for Red October,” grizzled Chicago police officer Jim Malone in 1987’s “The Untouchables,” and the dapper Prof. Henry Jones, father of the title character in the 1989 adventure “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ — he revolutionized the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent,” longtime Bond movie producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement.
“He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him,” the producers said in the statement.
Mr. Connery was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, and he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2006.