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James Bond actor Sean Connery memorialized by Daniel Craig, George Lazenby, and more 007 vets
Earlier this morning, fans of the long-running James Bond franchise were shocked and saddened to learn of Sir Sean Connery's passing at the age of 90. While 007 had appeared in live action before Dr. No hit the scene in 1962, Connery was the actor who truly gave life to Ian Fleming's globe-trotting secret agent known for his romantic nature and love of martinis. His profound influence on the character is still felt to this day, which prompted Daniel Craig, the actor to currently inhabit the iconic role, to pay tribute to another fallen Bond.
"It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema,” he said in a statement provided to SYFY WIRE. "Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course."
Craig's tenure as MI6's super-spy will come to an end next April, when No Time to Die is released in theaters. His previous entries include: Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre. Along with George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan, Craig is one the last living actors to have played 007.
Dalton — who played Bond across 1987's The Living Daylights and 1989's Licence to Kill — described Connery as "a wonderful presence" and "a great leading man," in a statement to The New York Times.
"Only a few weeks ago, I was wishing Sean all the best for his 90th birthday. Now, I'm very sad to be condoling with his family and friends," Lazenby, who only played Bond once in 1969, wrote on Instagram. "Of course, Sean Connery as James Bond inspired me personally, but seems to have encapsulated an age, the Sixties. I met Sean a couple of times and I was pleased he'd given my Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, his seal of approval. He was going to do my film many times and felt it was the best of the [Ian] Fleming tales. But, to me, the most important thing was his work went far beyond Bond: into charity, into family, into politics, and into golf. A man after my own heart. A great actor, a great man and under-appreciated artist has left us. My thoughts are with Lady Micheline and Sean's children and grandchildren. Only love, George XXX."
"Sir Sean Connery, you were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself. You cast a long shadow of cinematic splendor that will live on forever. You led the way for us all who followed in your iconic foot steps," wrote Brosnan on Instagram. "Each man in his turn looked to you with reverence and admiration as we forged ahead with our own interpretations of the role. You were mighty in every way, as an actor and as a man, and will remain so 'till the end of time. Your were loved by the world, and will be missed. God bless, rest now, be at peace."
Brosnan took over from Dalton, playing the suave spy across four movies: GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.
Bruce Glover, who played the role of Blofeld henchman Mr. Wink in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, described Connery as "a terrific pro and great to work with" during an exclusive phone call with SYFY WIRE. "Sean was always a presence on a set and he was such a good actor. He was a better actor than any other person who ever played Bond. He had versatility and had that physical presence ... Not that there wasn’t a variety of other talents playing the Bond [role], but nobody would ever be Bond for me, except Sean."
Glover also recalled the time he brought his son — Back to the Future's Crispin Glover — to the set of Diamonds Are Forever (Connery's final involvement with the Eon-produced 007 films). "I remember [Sean] even poked Crispin on top of the head and said, ‘He looks like a future 007!’ It would be fun to see Crispin play 007," the actor said.
The last message Glover ever received from Connery was apparently: "Tell that crazy son of a b*** 'hello' from me," which was a reference to a little prank Glover played on his co-star during the six-month Bond shoot. "I treasure [the message] to this day. We had a rapport that didn’t need a lot of illumination. It was just simple and there."
"We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery. 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 revolutionized 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," longtime Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement on Twitter.
"I'm incredibly saddened to hear of Seans passing. My thoughts are with his family. He was a wonderful person, a true gentleman and we will be forever connected by Bond," tweeted singer Dame Shirley Bassey, who currently holds the record for most Bond songs performed. Two out of her three tracks were made for Connery-era films: Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever. Moreover, one could say they are the most iconic themes throughout the entire series.
"When we were younger, I used to cheer Sean on from the sidelines whilst he played football in his team, The Showbiz 11! Well, I will always be there to cheer you on Sean! Forever in our hearts and may you rest in peace," she added.