Legendary actor Sean Connery died at the age of 90 on Saturday, leaving a legacy as one of the greatest and most accomplished actors of all time. He was the first, and in many eyes the best, actor to portray James Bond, appearing seven times as Bond from 1962 to 1971 (“Dr. No,” “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and “Diamonds Are Forever”). In 1973 Connery said he turned down $5 million to star in “Live and Let Die,” but he came back at the age of 52 for “Never Say Never Again” in 1983.
Connery grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of a truck driver, and dropped out of school before he turned 14 to work a variety of odd jobs, including stints as a bricklayer, milkman and lifeguard. He was drafted into the Royal Navy and assigned to an anti-aircraft squadron, but he was discharged after three years because of ulcers. His next job after that? He took advantage of a government apprentice offer to train as a coffin polisher. He was also a bodybuilder and weightlifter, finishing third in the Mr. Universe contest in 1950.
Connery thrived late in his career, being named People’s Sexiest Man Alive in 1989 at the age of 59, and then in 1999 People named him the Sexiest Man of the Century.
He had been receiving radiation therapy for throat polyps, and in 1993 he was rumored to have died, so to flip the narrative on that he dramatically jet-packed onto “The Late Show with David Letterman” to prove he was healthy.