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Sean Connery, James Bond star and Oscar winner, dies at 90

The legendary actor had retired after five decades in the entertainment business in 2006.
/ Source: TODAY

Sir Sean Connery, best known for his portrayal of the fictional James Bond, has died. He was 90 years old.

The Scottish actor's death was confirmed by the official Twitter account for the James Bond spy series. Connery's family also confirmed the news through his rep in a statement to TODAY.

"His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family. There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended."

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Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who both worked on James Bond films, released a joint statement through the James Bond Twitter account. “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 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.”

Sean Connery is most known for his portray of James Bond in seven films.
Sean Connery is most known for his portray of James Bond in seven films.

Connery was the first actor to portray James Bond in film, starring in seven movies about the character between the years 1962 and 1983. This included every film from "Dr. No" (1962) and "You Only Live Twice" (1967) to "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) and "Never Say Never Again" (1983).

Daniel Craig, who has played Bond since 2006's "Casino Royale" said in a statement, "It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema. 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.”

Many regarded Connery as the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise.

Connery also starred in notable films such as "Marnie" (1964), "Murder on the Orient Express" (1974), "The Man Who Would Be King" (1975), "Highlander" (1986), "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "Dragonheart" (1996), "The Rock" (1996) and "Finding Forrester" (2000).

He won numerous accolades for his careers that spanned over five decades, including an Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards, and three Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award and a Henrietta Award.

His Oscar came in 1988, when he was named best supporting actor for his role as an Irish-American cop in "The Untouchables."

Connery was voted by People magazine as both the “Sexiest Man Alive" in 1989 and the "Sexiest Man of the Century” in 1999. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Kennedy Center, also in 1999, and he was knighted one year later in 2000.

Connery was originally from Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, where his mother was a cleaning woman and his father was a factory worker and truck driver. At 16, he joined the Royal Navy and afterward, he spent time bodybuilding. In the 1950s, he began working backstage at a theater where his love for acting was born.

Connery married Diane Cilento in 1962 and they shared a son, actor Jason Connery. The couple later divorced in 1973. Connery is survived by his second wife, painter Micheline Roquebrune, whom he married in 1975.