Sean Connery is one of my favourite actors (awesome voice, so handsome even when he is pushing eighty!). I like both his James Bond movies and his other movies. My favourite out of his Bond movies is the first one ‘Dr.No’ – I think the scene where Bond is introduced in the movie is still the best out of all the Bond movies. Out of his non-Bond movies, my favourites are ‘The Untouchables’, ‘Entrapment’, ‘Rising Sun’, ‘The Hunt for Red October’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ and ‘The Name of the Rose’ – the last more because it is based on one of my favourite books of all time (‘The Name of the Rose’ by Umberto Eco), where Connery plays the role of William of Baskerville.
A few years back I watched a long interview by Connery and his wife (I think she is Spanish or French). It was a wonderful interview and revealed the human side of Connery. It was also lovely to hear Connery’s wife speak English in that soft and musical mainland European accent and it was also wonderful see their big family in the interview.
I read sometime back that Sean Connery was working on a book which would be his memoir + biography + his version of Scottish history and culture. Being a Sean Connery fan, I was looking forward to getting the book, when it came out. When I had dropped into the bookshop yesterday, to collect another book that I had ordered, I saw Sean Connery’s book in the new arrivals section. It is called ‘Being a Scot’. I was thrilled, browsed the book, bought it and as I always do, read the foreword by Connery. I am giving below some extracts from it.
It’s only in retrospect that you know anything about deprivation. As Craigie Veitch, my Fountainbridge neighbour all those years ago, told me recently, ‘Looking back, we were disadvantaged because we grew up in an area of social deprivation. But since we didn’t have social workers to tell us that we were deprived, we were all as happy as pigs.’
(Comment : One could identify with what Connery says here. I know I did.)
My first big break came when I was five years old. It’s taken me more than seventy years to realise that. You see, at five I first learnt to read. It’s that simple and it’s that profound. I left school at thirteen. I didn’t have a formal education. And yet there I was, accepting the thirty-fourth American Film Institute’s Life Achievement
Award in the summer of 2006. I told the glittering Hollywood audience that without the lust for reading instilled in me all those years ago by my teachers at the Bruntsfield Primary School in Edinburgh, I would not have been there with them that night. It had been a long journey to that star-studded event, from my two-room Fountainbridge home in the smoky industrial end of Edinburgh near the McCowans’ toffee factory.
(Comment : ‘Lust for reading’ – well, I have it too 🙂 Looks like I am not in bad company :))
When I took a taxi during a recent Edinburgh Film Festival, the cabbie was amazed that I could put a name to every street we passed.
‘How come?’ he asked.
‘As a boy I used to deliver a milk around here,’ I said.
‘So what do you do now?’
That was rather harder to answer.
(Comment : These are my favourite lines from the foreword. Quite humbling and inspiring, isn’t it?)
Now that we have got the serious quotes out of the way, I thought I will also give a humorous anecdote about Connery 🙂 I got the autobiography of Roger Moore, another of my favourite Bond actors, sometime back. It is called ‘My Word is my Bond’ – not surprising because the Bond character Moore played was fond of one-liners. I read a little bit of it and have kept it aside for future reading. (The way I am reading bits and pieces of books, I am going to end up reading parts of many books rather than finishing even a single book! God help me!). Moore mentions an interestng anecdote involving Connery and the Bond movies producer Albert Broccoli. The background to the anecdote is this : Connery and Broccoli (he was called ‘Cubby’ among friends) had parted on acrimonious terms when Connery walked out of the Bond franchise. Here is how Moore describes the anecdote.
Some years previously, I attempted to bring Sean and Cubby together at a party at our house in LA, hoping they might settle their differences. I should add that, a couple of weeks prior to the party, there had been a newspaper article in which Sean was quoted as saying that if Cubby Broccoli’s brain was on fire, he ‘wouldn’t piss in his ear to put it out.’
At the party, I sat them both down with a drink. I heard Cubby – who was very much a gentleman Don Corleone – say, ‘Sean, did you really say if my brains were on fire you wouldn’t piss in my ear? I found that very upsetting.’
‘Cubby,’ replied Sean, ‘I’d gladly piss in your ear any time.’
End of conversation!
Hope you enjoyed reading the above quotes and anecdotes.