What's Come Out About Sean Connery Since His Death

Scottish actor Sir Sean Connery became famous for playing the role of James Bond, the fictional secret spy agent known for his wild missions and many escapades. Connery is considered to be the very first Bond, as he was the premier actor to portray the internationally beloved character on the big screen. He brought life to the role of Agent 007 on and off for three decades in a total of seven films, per National World. Several other actors would succeed him, but he remained one of the most memorable Bonds.

He would go on to have an extremely successful career beyond playing Bond, and acted in dozens of films over the course of almost six decades, per IMDb. In 2006 he retired from acting (via The Guardian) just after kidney surgery. Still, he was credited as a voice actor on projects up until 2012.

On October 31, 2020, Connery died at his home in the Bahamas at the age 90, reported BBC. He was survived by his wife, Micheline Roquebrune, and his son, Jason.

He died of pneumonia (among other things)

When news of Sean Connery's death first broke, the BBC only reported that he died in his sleep, in his home in Nassau in the Bahamas. He was 90 at the time, and according to his son Jason, his health had long been slipping. As many of his family who could gather at Nassau were with Connery when he passed, but no cause of death was initially given. Considering his age, and his family's statement that he passed peacefully, there wasn't much mystery or intrigue around the matter.

If anyone did have a morbid curiosity, however, about a month after Connery's death, TMZ obtained his death certificate. Old age was given as a contributing factor to his death, but the report also revealed the retired actor's ailment at the time: pneumonia. Another contributing factor was atrial fibrillation, the most common type of heart arrhythmia, according to the CDC. It's more common with advanced age and caused by the upper and lower chambers of the heart falling out of coordination, resulting in a heartbeat that can be too fast, too slow, or just irregular.

He had dementia

Shortly after Sean Connery's Halloween death and his son Jason's public statement, Connery's wife, Micheline Roquebrune, spoke with the Daily Mail about his passing. She revealed that her husband had begun suffering from dementia in his final years. "It was no life for him," said Roquebrune. "He was not able to express himself latterly. At least he died in his sleep and it was just so peaceful. I was with him all the time and he just slipped away. It was what he wanted."

There was speculation in the press over Connery's mental health since 2013. According to the Alzheimer's Disease website, that was the year his friend Michael Caine reportedly made a remark that was widely misconstrued as a comment about Connery's condition. Caine spent two years pushing back against that interpretation, but conceded in 2015 that Connery was growing confused and forgetful. After his death, another friend, Sir Jackie Stewart, said that he had observed the "sad sight" of Connery's struggles with his mental health.

The Connery family dealt with another loss

Just seven months after Connery's death, another Connery passed away. Sean's younger brother, Neil, died in Scotland on May 10, 2021 at the age of 83 (via Edinburgh News). Like his brother, Neil was an actor, known for his resemblance to his older sibling. He had reportedly been battling an undisclosed long-term illness before his death.

The brothers were both born in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Sean, born Thomas Sean Connery, came into the world first, on August 25, 1930, and Neil was born eight years later, on December 16, 1938. While Neil (above) didn't have the storied and successful career similar to that of his brother, he did earn himself a few acting credits, per his IMDb, and even starred in a spoof film of James Bond, titled "Operation Kid Brother," per Film Stories. He worked as a plasterer for most of his life, but briefly left to test out his footing in the acting business. He wouldn't be as famous as his big brother, but the public remembered him as a close lookalike of the famous Bond.

Connery's legacy as James Bond

Because he was the first official Bond, Connery almost had a lifelong commitment to the role. His last Bond movie was in 1983's "Never Say Never Again," but a few years earlier he had signed off on playing the literary hero because he was fed up with the franchise, per USA Today. After 1967's "You Only Live Twice," Connery quit Bond. He would, however, return for 1971's Bond movie, "Diamonds are Forever," and it would be a hefty paycheck that made Connery return to the role. Per Express, studio execs offered him $1.25 million to come back as Bond. Connery donated his "Diamonds" paycheck to the Scottish International Education Trust, which supports Scottish artists.

Connery was briefly succeeded in the role by George Lazenby, who would quit after one film, and was later replaced by Roger Moore — another memorable Bond. Still, Connery was the most famous of them all. Even when British actor Daniel Craig signed as the new Bond, filmmakers wanted the legendary actor to make an appearance in 2012 "Skyfall," per Screen Rant. At that point Connery was several years into his retirement and showed absolutely no interest in ever returning to the big screen. Had he decided to return, it's likely he would have had a cameo in the film.

His Bond gun was sold at auction

The prop gun that Connery wielded in his debut Bond film, "Dr. No," was sold at auction for $250,000 in California in December 2020, per Variety. The owner of the gun found a seller shortly after the actor's passing, but it wasn't Connery's death that led him to giving it up for sale. They were apparently already in the process of auctioning off the gun a year before he died. The auction coincidentally happened just two months after Connery's death, which left the previous owner uneasy.

"I don't want to profit off his death and I got nervous about it, but the auction house said this stuff happens all the time. I felt weird about it and considered pulling it at one point," said Dan Lanigan. The name of the new buyer of the Walther PPK prop gun was not revealed, but is apparently a fan of all the Bond movies.

He returned to Scotland in death

Sean Connery was cremated in the Bahamas after his death. According to Edinburgh Live, his final wish was to have his ashes returned and scattered in his home country of Scotland, and according to the Scotsman, his family ultimately decided that the town of St Andrews — specifically its Royal and Ancient Golf Club, of which Connery was a member — would be an appropriate spot. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the scattering and any memorial service in Scotland, but a few more months wouldn't matter; Connery had been away from home for years.

According to The CSJ Report, Connery's primary residence for nearly three decades was his home in Nassau. He said that he enjoyed a sense of anonymity when in the Bahamas, but he faced years of accusations that he was a tax exile. With Connery a vocal supporter of Scottish independence, his choice of residence opened him up to charges of hypocrisy as well. He responded at one point with six years' worth of tax disclosures, per the BBC, that revealed he paid £3.7 million between 1997 and 2003. But critics pointed out (per the Guardian) that he would have owed his home country significantly more had he been a continuous resident.