Happy 81st birthday, Sean Connery

Sean Connery celebrates his 81st birthday today. There’s little more than needs to be said about Connery’s contributions to the James Bond film series. Terence Young, director of three of the first four Bond movies, famously said the three reasons that 007 films took off were “Sean Connery, Sean Connery and Sean Connery.”

Still, we can’t help but wonder if Connery had even the slightest hint of what was about to happen to him a half-century ago on his 31st birthday. The answer is probably not.

Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were a couple of journeymen producers. Terence Young was a journeyman director. Richard Maibaum, a journeyman screenwriter and occasional producer. Ian Fleming had written a number of novels that had gotten attention, including earlier in the year Life magazine listing the author’s From Russia With Love as one of then-President John F. Kennedy’s favorite novels. United Artists had only announced a few months earlier it intended to start a film series based on the novels. Connery would end up with a $16,800 paycheck for the first film, Dr. No.

Life can change in an instant. That was certainly true of a Scot actor 50 years ago, who was starting to make an impression with audiences.

Happy birthday, Sir Sean.