Sean Connery, best known as the first actor to play James Bond on the big screen, has died at the age of 90. He “died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family,” publicist Nancy Seltzer said in a statement Saturday.
His son, Jason Connery, confirmed his father had been “unwell for some time,” the BBC reported.
Connery leaves behind a legacy as an icon in the film industry. His most famous role as James Bond in films like You Only Live Twice and Dr. No helped launch the 007 film franchise that continues today, but he’s also beloved for roles in films such as The Hunt for Red October, The Name of the Rose, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Connery was also a proud advocate for his home country of Scotland and a strong supporter of the Scottish National Party, known for pushing for Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Connery was the son of a factory worker and a cleaning woman. After a series of odd jobs, including working as a milkman and a competitive bodybuilder, Connery began auditioning as a stage actor at theaters in Edinburgh and London.
He continued working as a stage, television, and film actor when, at the age of 32, he starred in his breakthrough role as James Bond in Dr. No, the first film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s novels. Connery went on to star in six more Bond films as well as a slew of other movies, earning the 1988 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the film The Untouchables. He was knighted in 2000.
Connery will be remembered worldwide as a legendary actor, a sex symbol, a proud Scot, and the first (and quite possibly the best) Bond.
“Sean was born into a working class Edinburgh family and through talent & sheer hard work, became an international film icon and one of the world’s most accomplished actors,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted Saturday. “Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons.”
He is survived by his wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, and his son, Jason, also an actor.