My Chances of Playing
Romeo Are Now Over
Milkman. Truck driver. Coffin polisher. Bodybuilder. Her Majesty’s secret agent 007. Bond, James Bond.
Sir Sean Connery, the actor who portrayed all the characters above, is 80 years old today, well liked the world over. Not bad for someone who never really acted and whose biggest on screen persona never granted him respect from his peers.
Not even with his arguably most regarded works, in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1964 “Marnie,” John Houston’s 1975 “The Man Who Would Be King,” and Richard Lester’s 1976 “Robin and Marian,” he broke the mold. His mix of suave operator and sophisticated thug, honed in the 007 series, was just too appealing for anyone to tweak it.
The Oscar for Brian De Palma’s 1987 “The Untouchables” was an acknowledgment for his fading stature in the business, not a reward for that particular role. But in the end, he showed he could be a good sport in Steven Spielberg’s 1989 “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
Not bad for someone who often put his foot in his mouth during interviews, sported a toupee during the whole 007 series, wore a Scottish kilt on occasion but always lived in the Bahamas, and often projected a utterly out-of-step brutish macho image.
But well liked he remains, and his 80th birthday resonates with those who were kicking during the 1960s and now find themselves aging much faster than their favorite acts. As the famous opening chords of John Barry’s soundtrack fade away, we still engage in those now oh-so-tame tales of intrigue and espionage, guided by the debonair persona (Thomas Sean) Connery created.
The “agent of the imperialism,” as the inflamed barricades used to label it, outlived for the most part the posturing and virulent idealism of that decade. And we’re left with the feeling that, this time is for real: we’ll never ever say never again.