By John H. Foote
Sir Sean Connery passed this morning, the first James Bond is gone.
Connery was a huge movie star for 40 years, inactive the last two decades but incredibly busy from 1960 to 2000.
Considered the greatest of the actors to play 007, it was often forgotten just what a truly fine actor he was. In 1987 he won the Academy Award for his rough and tumble cop, Jimmy, in The Untouchables. It was his only nomination.
His first appearance as James Bond came in Dr. No (1962) which was an immediate smash hit, leading to a hugely lucrative franchise. From Russia with Love (1963) followed, then the best of the films he appeared in: Goldfinger (1964). Thunderball (1965) followed, another blockbuster, and then You Only Live Twice (1967).
Connery began taking stronger roles in bigger films, the best of them the magnificent The Man Who Would Be King (1975) in which he gave his single greatest performance. Ironically that same year he was in one of the worst films of the decade, the dreadful science fiction mess Zardoz (1975).
In 1976 he and Audrey Hepburn starred together in the elegant, melancholy Robin and Marian (1976), both superb.
He won his first and only Oscar in The Untouchables and gave a fine performance in Finding Forrester (2000), the last good film of his career.
One of the great movie stars is gone.
Rest in Peace, sir.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.