Sean Connery, the original 007 who defined classic cool, has just turned 90

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In these divisive times, there’s surely one thing that can unite us all: a deep appreciation for Sean Connery.

On Tuesday, the first actor to portray James Bond turned 90, proving the longevity of an actor whose name has been synonymous with classic cool since the 1960s.

For many people, this may come as a surprise – after all, the man dubbed the “sexiest man alive” by People Magazine when he was already rounding 60 hasn’t been on the silver screen in years since he retired after starring in The League of Extraordinary Gentleman,” a 2003 box office dud that was far beneath his dignity.

Fortunately, the beloved Scottish actor will be remembered for his epic roles including the starring role in 007 films Goldfinger, From Russsia With Love, and Diamonds Are Forever, as well as his outstanding supporting roles in The Untouchables, The Highlander, The Hunt for Red October, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and other golden classics.

Sir Thomas Sean Connery was born August 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, Scotland to truck driver Joseph and cleaner Effie. His early jobs included being a milkman, a coffin polisher, and a nude model for artists before finding his career on the stages of London and later in feature films.

On Tuesday, media outlets across the world celebrated Connery’s birthday. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian hailed the actor and British knight in a piece titled, “Sean Connery at 90: a dangerously seductive icon of masculinity.”

“The former milkman and bodybuilder was the working-class Bond, a Bond who had come up through the ranks, though director Terence Young reputedly schooled him in the ways of classiness: how to dress, how to light a cigarette,” Bradshaw wrote. “Connery’s natural muscular power and wry humor modified the elegance and eccentricity of Bond in just the right way.”

“As much as the Beatles, it was Connery’s charismatic Bond who kept alive Britain’s postwar amour-propre,” the tribute continued. “Does Britain appear to be waning pathetically on the world stage? Oh no. Britain is still powerful — but in secret, you see, like 007.”

However, Connery is said to have despised the attention he received for portraying the world’s most recognizable secret agent, which began in 1962.

He twice quit the role of James Bond, once while making You Only Live Twice in 1967 and again after starring in Never Say Never Again in 1983.

The actor is now living a far more low-profile life in a gated community in New Providence in the Bahamas, free of the annoyances that accompanied dealing with those he derided as “idiots” in the movie industry and preoccupied by a truly Scottish past-time: golf.

In 2003, Connery said that he and his second wife Micheline Roquebrune, who were both then in their 70s, “felt closer to three [years old].”

“Things come out in the paper and people talk about the ‘elderly’ and what have you and they are in their sixties,” the celebrated actor said. “Well where does that put us?”