Sir Sean Connery

Age can do nothing to prevent Sean Connery from repeatedly being voted 'The sexiest male on Earth'. So what does his wife think about all this attention, his past romps with Bond girls and the endless offers for her husband to star with some of today's most alluring leading ladies?

Oscar winning actor and producer, Sir Thomas Sean Connery is best known for playing Agent 007 James Bond. He was born in the city of Edinburgh to Joseph Connery and Euphamia “Effie” Maclean.

Connery's first job was as a milkman and after this he went into the Royal Navy but due to his stomach ulcer was discharged on medical grounds. He went back for a brief spell as a milkman, and then took on an array of other jobs: still behind the wheel but travelling somewhat faster, he was a truck driver, then a labourer.

After this he downed tools to become an artist's model at Edinburgh College of Art - still pursuing dead-end jobs he took on the role of coffin polisher, and then making use of his athletic build, a lifeguard.

At the age of 23, in only a pair of swimming trunks, an oiled and pumped up Connery was placed third in the tall men's division of the 1953 Mr. Universe contest. It was here that another competitor, Johnny Isaacs, suggested to Connery that he should go along for a casting for the stage production of South Pacific. This was the crossroads for Connery and the lights were on green for him to go across onto television work that eventually led to films.

One of his first prominent roles was in 'Darby O'Gill and the Little People' (1956). In 1961 Connery co-starred with Claire Bloom in a BBC television production of 'Anna Karenina'. Over in America, Connery's first role was as a porter in an episode of The Jack Benny Show. Connery has never lost his good looks or his Scottish accent despite his years or the nationality of the character he played. He claimed sticking to a Scottish accent was out of respect for his country.

In 1962 he became the second husband of Daine Cilento (until '73). Their son, also an actor, Jason Connery was born the following year. The same year, Connery landed the first of seven roles playing James Bond in the film 'Dr. No' adapted from the novel of the same name by Ian Fleming.

Harry Sltzman discovered Connery, an unknown. Cary Grant thought he was too old for the part, as did James Mason. David Niven was passed over, although he did do a parody Bond in the '67 spoof of Casino Royal.

Connery was the first person to play Bond in front of a camera – the production's limited budget meant that only an unknown would fit the bill. The last time Connery acted as Bond was in '83's ironically titled 'Never Say Never Again'. After 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971) Connery concluded his role as 007 wasn't forever and swore never to return to the character - he was reportedly tempted with a huge salary and the promise of full control over all aspects of the production of Never Say Never Again.

Ian Fleming considered 6’ 2” Connery too muscular and “unrefined”. Terence Young, the film's director, took Connery under his wing and showed him the etiquette of gentlemen: how to walk, talk, eat and so on. After the film's premiere, Fleming had changed his mind about his rough diamond principal and went on to give James Bond a half-Scottish and half-Swiss heritage for later incarnations.

Connery's masculine, swarthy and sophisticated portrayal of Bond continued with 'From Russia With Love' (1963), said to be his favourite Bond film; 'Goldfinger' (1964) and 'Thunderball' (1956). But it was in 'You Only Live Twice' (1967) that saw Connery quit the role. He was said to be tired of the repetitive plots and the public's demands on him - he didn't want to be typecast either. So in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' (1969) George Lazenby took on the unwanted part.

Lazenby was perceived to be a flop (very out of character for a womanising secret agent), so hard man Connery was tempted back into the United Artists' fold with a record salary for its time, a cool £1.25 million, coupled with an agreement he would have carte blanche to produce two other films.

'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971) was his final official appearance - unlike the film's title, this now polished diamond was not forever going to be Bond. Sticking to his guns, Connery turned down an alleged £5 million for 'Live And Let Die' (1973) - instead Roger Moore played the deathly nonchalant part and went on to play Bond in a further six films; thus launching the great debate: “Whom is the best Bond?”

Two years after a bitter and painful divorce from his first wife, Connery married a second time to French artist Micheline Roquebrune in 1975.

In 1999 President Bill Clinton presented Connery with the Kennedy Centre Honours from the United States. Although not a resident of his homeland, Connery is proud of his heritage and has supported the Scottish National Party with personal appearances and financial backing - he believes the new Scottish Parliament will grow to independence within his lifetime.

Although his Knighthood was awarded in 2000, officially the delay was due to his comments in several interviews condoning the physical abuse of women and not for his support for an independent Scotland.

In the re-make of 'Thunderball', Connery went back on his promise and did reprise his version of Bond in 'Never Say Never Again' (1983) - a title derived from Connery's earlier vow.

Famed for his role as James Bond, Connery still managed to pursue his career in other roles with much success. Taking advantage of the deal struck with United Artists, he played law enforcer Detective Sergeant Johnson in 'The Offence' (1973) - however he thought the studio buried the film. In 'The Man Who Would Be King' (1973) Connery stepped foot where no other white man had since Alexander, playing Daniel Dravot alongside Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer in an adventure where two former British soldiers set themselves up as deities in Kafiristan.

Later, he was part of an ensemble cast in 'Murder on the Orient Express' (1974) working with Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman and Vanessa Redgrave and in Richard Attenborough's 'A Bridge Too Far' opposite Sir Laurence Olivier, Dirk Bogard, James Caan, Michael Caine, Edward Fox, Elliot Gould, Gene Hackman, Anthony Hopkins and Ryan O’Neal. The film won 3 BAFTAs.

The following year, Connery demonstrated to critics and audiences his ability and range as an actor with his portrayal of a Berber chieftain in 'The Wind and the Lion' (1975). 'The Name of the Rose' (1986) won Connery a BAFTA for ‘Best Actor’ and this proved to be the vehicle that drove him to a revival of credible parts. In the same year he played an old wise mentor in 'Highlander' and a role which he returned to on one other occasion, playing Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, a swordsman who teaches the film's Scotsman how to kill an immortal.

With 'The Untouchables' (1987) Connery played hard-nosed cop Jim Malone who taught Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness how to bring down Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro. Connery won himself and the film its only Oscar for ‘Best Supporting Actor’.

'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' saw Connery play Harrison Ford's father - a role that earned him a BAFTA Film Award nomination. Indiana Jones was inspired from Connery's Bond, so although he is only 12 years older than Ford, it was homage to this.

Connery went on to fill the box office tills with 'The Hunt for Red October' (1990) for which he earned a nomination for ‘Best Actor’ in the BAFTA Film Awards; 'The Russia House' (1990); 'The Rock' (1996) where he won London Critics’ Circle Film Award for ‘Actor of the Year’, and ‘Best On-Screen Duo’ from MTV Movie Awards, playing an imprisoned secret service agent, and 'Entrapment' (1999).

These were followed by a leading role in 'League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' (2003) which suffered at the box office and with critics but Connery's performance was met with positive reviews.

Between 'The Russia House' and 'The Rock' in 1993, news spread that Connery underwent radiation treatment for a throat aliment, fuelling rumours he had throat cancer - something his father died from in 1972 - Japanese and South African news agencies falsely reported his death leaving Connery to make an immediate appearance on the David Letterman show – alive!

The ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films USA went to Connery in 1995. In 1998 The BAFTA Awards presented him with the ‘Academy Fellowship’.

In 2004, Connery gave an interview with The Scotsman newspaper from his home in the Bahamas explaining that he was resting from acting whilst penning his autobiography. This book was later shelved after the publishers were said to be too invasive of Connery's personal life.

At New York’s Tartan Day celebrations in 2006 Connery confirmed his retirement from acting and said he was writing a history book. In the spring of that year, Connery was recovering after having a tumour removed from his kidney.

The American Film Institute honoured him with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2006. In the following New Year, he told The Scotsman he may join the cast of the fourth Indian Jones film. Connery says: “I will permanently retire the day I die!”

Later in 2006, Connery returned to voice acting in the short film 'Sir Billi the Vet', which is about an eccentric vet working in a remote Scottish village. He reprised this role in 2012. He also served as an executive producer on the movie.

On 7 June 2007, he denied the rumours that he would be appearing in the fourth Indiana Jones film. On 25 August 2008, his 78th birthday, he released his autobiography 'Being a Scot'.

In April 2011, Connery's publicist announced that the actor had retired from making public appearances.

Connery is currently a supporter of Rangers FC after supporting Celtic for a long time. Speaking about his change in allegiance he said he always supports the team that plays best and there is no religious reason behind it.