Sean Connery was the most durable movie star the UK produced in the second half of the 20th century.
The Scottish actor, who has died at the age of 90, won fame playing James Bond, the suavely rugged superspy hero of Ian Fleming’s novels. He smirked through cold war showdowns, licensed to kill and to ladykill, in the name of freedom and democracy. He made seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983 but was never content, even in early years of success, with being typecast as a glamorous playboy. He worked hard to become an increasingly skilled and versatile actor for directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma and Steven Spielberg, and he amplified his public image to become a spokesman for off-screen causes, notably Scottish nationalism.
In 2000, 12 years after winning an Academy Award for The Untouchables, he received a knighthood. The accolade was all the more notable for previous reports that he had been passed over because of his vocal championing of Scottish independence.
As an actor he never lost his Scottishness. His accent retained a much-imitated Celtic burr whether playing time-travelling nobleman in Highlander, a Russian submarine commander in The Hunt for Red