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Sean Connery Turns 90: Why He Was the Greatest James Bond of All

Sean Connery helped redefine movie stardom thanks to his role as James Bond, an impossibly suave super-spy with a taste for martinis that were shaken, not stirred. In films like “Dr. No,” “Goldfinger,” and “You Only Live Twice,” the Scottish actor created a template for a fresh and exciting action hero, one whose womanizing, hard-drinking ways and penchant to solve any dispute with the barrel of a Walther PPK presaged a new and more permissive era of on-screen sex and violence.

The man who would be 007 turns 90 on Tuesday and has been off the silver screen since opting to retire in 2003 after appearing in the execrable “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” (Why do the great ones go out with a whimper? Here’s looking at you Gene Hackman/”Welcome to Mooseport”). However, his legacy continues to reverberate — it can be felt in everything from Tom Cruise’s globe-trotting “Mission: Impossible” alter-ego Ethan Hunt to Harrison Ford’s quip-ready adventurer in the Indiana Jones films. Daniel Craig’s darker take on Bond also owes a clear debt to Connery’s interpretation of the Ian Fleming character.


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