Those of us old enough to have seen the first James Bond film Dr. No when it was released in 1962 tend to view Sean Connery as the best Bond of all, even though good arguments can be made for some of the others who came later. And so the announcement of his death today will bring with it a tinge of sadness as yet another film icon of our era leaves us. I was surprised that he was 90 years old. I guess that is because you tend to think of the actors who dominated in one’s youth as getting older but not becoming that old. Roger Moore, who also acted in numerous Bond films and brought a lighter, more comedic touch to the role, died three years ago, also at the age of 90.
Although he acted in many other films of note, Connery will always be identified with the Bond character. The author of the books Ian Fleming though that Connery was wrong for the role and the fact that he was Scottish did not help with those who felt that Bond epitomized suave Englishness. The actor Christopher Lee who was friends with Fleming said that he thought Pierce Brosnan came closest to the Bond that existed in Fleming’s mind.
Here is the scene from Dr. No when Bond first says his name in the way that has since become endlessly parodied.
The actor Eunice Grayson who asks him his name in that scene said that he had great difficulty in getting it right.
Gayson said in 2012 that filming the scene had not been easy as Sean Connery struggled with the line.
She said: “He had to say Bond, James Bond, but he came out with other permutations like Sean Bond, James Connery. ‘Cut! Cut! Cut!'”
At the instigation of the director, Terence Young, Gayson took Mr Connery for a drink, and he returned to deliver it perfectly.
A bit of trivia is that it is not Grayson’s actual voice that is heard in the film. The voice of voiceover artist Nikki van der Zyl was used for her and for many of the other female leads in the early Bond films.
The Bond franchise seems to be with us permanently and it will be interesting to see who takes over from current occupant Daniel Craig. The rumor that a woman is being considered to take over his number 007 if not his name remains just a rumor.