The actor performed many odd jobs to help his family survive as they were not financially affluent.
Do you remember when James Bond was introduced to the world for the first time? One single scene captured the essence of the franchise. The beautiful women, the craziness of gambling, glamorous people, everything exhibited how adventurous the Bond movies were going to be. Then came Sean Connery's introductory dialogue, "Bond, James Bond," and everything else is history.
The successful actor helped redefine Hollywood by portraying the charming, handsome and notorious spy who loved martinis for the first time in the first Bond movie Dr. No. According to Variety, the film got appreciation worldwide as people fell in love with the womanizing action hero with the movies which followed like Goldfinger, and You Only Live Twice. He also paved the way for the portrayal of violence and sexual intimacy in the movies back in 1962. The successful actor is celebrating his 90th birthday this month, but he suffered a great deal to reach the level of stardom he enjoys now.
The former 007 was born as Thomas Sean Connery on August 25, 1930, in Fountainbridge, Scotland, to truck driver Joe and Euphamia, who was a laundress. The stinking neighborhood he was brought up in was known as "the street of a thousand smells" because of the breweries and local rubber mills, as per Biography.
His bed was a bureau drawer as an infant in a two-room flat since his parents couldn't afford a crib. Connery had once recalled, "We were very poor, but I never knew how poor because that's how everyone was there." His father barely earned anything and whatever he did was spent on gambling and alcohol.
Known as "Tommy", Connery was believed to be intelligent. He was just five when he could “read and write and was proficient at mental arithmetic”. He also knew that his family was struggling to stay alive, so he took a decision for himself. By the time young Connery was 13, he quit school to fend for his family. He got a full-time job at a local dairy, reported Express.
In the biography titled Sean Connery: The Untouchable Hero (1983), writer Michael Feeney Callan said Connery "was precocious, alert and willing and, in spite of the jobs pinch, a place was found for him on a delivery draye – or milkman.”
He continued, "Sean would work there on-and-off for eight years, which was a “self-inflicted punishment” for such a “freedom-loving boy”. Talking about his experience Connery said, “My background was harsh... I was up at dawn, then through a milk round before school.” This was just the beginning of his long list of jobs. He also worked as a butcher's assistant.
At 16, he joined the Navy and got two tattoos reading "Mum and Dad" and "Scotland Forever" honoring his parents and birthplace, reported Trend-Chaser. He could not continue his naval service for too long even though he had signed for seven years due to stomach ulcers. With no plan ahead he tried his hand at more jobs.
The Goldfinger actor tried shoveling coal, laying bricks, and even polishing coffins but nothing satisfied him. Being the handsome man that he is, he also posed as a model at the Edinburgh Art School. He saved his earnings from the art school to join the Dunedin Weightlifting Club. He once admitted that his interest in weight lifting "was not so much to be fit but to look good for the girls." He not only became popular with the ladies but also with his gym mates who nominated him for Mr. Universe contest.
In 1953, a local casting director saw the 6' 2" Connery introduce himself as "Mr. Scotland" in the contest and asked him to join the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific which was supposed to happen in London's theater district. "I didn't have a voice, couldn't dance. But I could look good standing there," admitted Connery. He now knew what he wanted to be.
In the following years, the actor showcased his talent in a number of films and television series including the acclaimed BBC Requiem for a Heavyweight. But his character as the sexy British spy garnered him fame in the U.S. too. With films like From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967) Connery created a niche for himself. By the time he did the 007 series' sixth film Never Say Never Again (1983), he admitted that he was bored with the character. He said, "This Bond image is a problem in a way, and a bit of a bore."
After doing a number of other movies the actor was last seen on the silver screen in the 2003 film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen after which he took retirement and now lives blissfully with his second wife Micheline Roquebrune in the Bahamas, reported The Sun.
According to Express, in an interview with Playboy magazine in 1965, the actor recalled that he himself was the one who made his life a success. He said, “From the time I started working I always paid my share of the rent, and the attitude at home was the prevalent one in Scotland – you make your own bed and so you have to lie on it. I didn’t ask for advice and I didn’t get it. I had to make it on my own or not at all.”
Even though the actor earned everything in life, he never forgot his roots. In the 2009 book Being a Scot written by him and Murray Grigor, he shared an anecdote to when he relived his childhood on the streets of London while taking a taxi back Edinburgh Film Festival. He penned, “The driver was amazed that I could put a name to every street we passed. ‘How come?’ he asked. ‘As a boy I used to deliver milk round here,’ I said. ‘So what do you do now?’ That was rather harder to answer,” reported Express.