The cause of death hasn’t been confirmed, but the BBC News today said Connery “died overnight in his sleep, while in the Bahamas.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “heartbroken” at the news, according to the Associated Press. “Our nation today mourns one of her best loved sons,” Sturgeon said.
Connery, known for his charm and charisma as an action hero, had a long list of credits in the entertainment world that stretched over nearly six decades. To countless movie lovers, however, he’ll always be James Bond, the British spy who could outwit villains, enrapture women and serve his country with muscular aplomb.
Connery starred in seven Bond movies -- “Dr. No” (1962), “From Russia with Love” (1963), “Goldfinger” (1964), “Thunderball” (1965), “You Only Live Twice” (1967), “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971) and “Never Say Never Again” (1983) -- and originated the screen version of the British agent created by novelist Ian Fleming.
After cementing his fame as Agent 007, Connery moved on to roles in many other films, including “The Untouchables," “The Hunt for Red October,” “The Name of the Rose,” “The Man Who Would Be King," “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” He won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of an Irish cop in 1987′s “The Untouchables.” Connery had a supporting role in Brian De Palma’s film -- about crime busters in Chicago led by Eliot Ness during the Prohibition era -- but the veteran actor turned in a memorable performance.
“The best performance in the movie is by Sean Connery, as an Irish-American cop who signs on as Ness’s right-hand man and seems, inexplicably, to know everything about the mob and its liquor business,” Roger Ebert said in his review. “Connery brings a human element to his character; he seems to have had an existence apart from the legend of the Untouchables, and when he’s onscreen we can believe, briefly, that the Prohibition Era was inhabited by people, not caricatures.”
Connery received many accolades during his career, ranging from the American Film Institute’s lifetime achievement award in 2006 to the title of “Sexiest Man of the Century" in 1999 from People magazine. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000, and published an autobiography, “Being a Scot,” in 2008.
Producers of the Bond film franchise, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, paid tribute to Connery today on social media.
“We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery,” they said via the @007 Twitter feed. “He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond... James Bond’ — he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent. He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”