“He wasn’t Sean Connery then. We all knew him as Tom,” said Tommy Wark, the same former workmate of Sean Connery who admitted the actor was homeless and slept in coffins.
Most people knew Sean Connery as the first actor to portray secret agent James Bond. Before making it big in the entertainer industry, though, he was homeless.
"James Bond" star Sean Connery at the start and end of his career | Photo: Getty Images
SEAN CONNERY’S ACTING CAREER
Born in August 1930, Connery showed up on the entertainment industry scene in the mid-50s with minor roles in TV movies and series like “The Condemned” and “Blood Money.”
His career skyrocketed in 1962 when he landed Bond’s part in “Dr. No.” Luckily, he reprised his role in six other films and cemented himself as a household name.
In 1983, he portrayed Bond for the last time in “Never Say Never Again.” After that, he kept himself quite active in the entertainment industry and even took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Brian De Palma’s “The Untouchables.”
Sean Connery in London on August 31, 1962 | Photo: Getty Images
CONNERY BEFORE FAME
The Scottish actor made millions with his prolific acting career. Still, before being recognized as Sean Connery, he was just Tom, a homeless worker at a coffin maker’s workshop in Haddington, Scotland.
According to his former co-worker Tommy Wark, Connery started working there in 1950, shortly after being forced to leave the Royal Navy due to a stomach ulcer.
In Haddington, Connery and two other women were tasked to polish the caskets, and since he had nowhere to stay at the time, he spent a few nights in the workshop “sleeping in a coffin.”
Sean Connery on the set of "Dr No" circa 1963 | Photo: Getty Images
Luckily, another workmate gave him a room at his place for the rest of his time in the small town. It was not Connery’s first odd job, though.
The “Indiana Jones” actor delivered milk for St. Cuthbert’s Co-operative in his hometown of Edinburg before working as a bouncer at the Palais de Danse ballroom in Fountainbridge.
[He] worked as a waiter in different London restaurants and even slept on a park bench.
Sean Connery at Cineworld in Edinburgh, Scotland, on August 25, 2006 | Photo: Getty Images
Connery also worked as a life model, bricklayer, and lifeguard before becoming a bodybuilder, which eventually led to his acting career.
It is important to point out that Connery never forgot about the workman who let him stay at his place as he would frequently visit him even after finding fame and fortune.
Sean Connery in Edinburg on June 20, 2010 | Photo: Getty Images
BOND ACTORS WITH SIMILAR STORIES
Connery’s success story is one of a kind, but he was certainly not the only star of a “James Bond” film to face challenges before making it big in the industry.
Daniel Craig, the latest person to portray the English spy, worked as a waiter in different London restaurants and even slept on a park bench, reportedly.
Lana Wood, who worked next to Connery in his sixth Bond film “Diamonds are Forever,” is a more recent example. After successfully portraying Plenty in the movie and taking on other roles, her career slowed down.
In April 2017, she hit rock bottom and was left homeless, dealing with arthritis, struggling to care for her family, and living in a low-rent motel in Los Angeles.
Her daughter, son-in-law, three grandchildren, and two dogs lived with her, too. Wood’s condition was so challenging that she acknowledged she needed to stay calm to avoid suicidal thoughts.
Fortunately, her most loyal fans learned about her situation and donated just over $36,000 to take her and her family to another house and pay for their medical bills. As per Connery, he passed away on October 31, 2020. He was 90 years old.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
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