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.

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