There have been many James Bond actors. Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig, George Lazenby… even David Niven and dozens of other cast members of the original Casino Royale. The man who made the character into a starring movie role, however, was Sean Connery.
Connery has since had a legendary career, moving from James Bond to roles ranging from starring to cameo in The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Time Bandits, The Rock, and many more. It was almost enough to make people forget Zardoz.
But the work ethic he put into his films was developed at a fairly young age. He was a sailor, a lifeguard and a bricklayer before his acting career took off. None of these are particularly unusual, although it does mean there were some people walking around in the 1960s who had stories of being rescued from water incidents by a young lifeguard who looked remarkably like James Bond.
Of all of his jobs, however, none were more unusual than his position as a Haddington coffin polisher.
A colleague of the day, Tommy Wark, later recalled about him in an interview:
“He wasn’t Sean Connery then – we all knew him as Tom.
“I was on the joinery side and he worked with two women from Craigmillar who did the polishing of the caskets.
“He came there to start work about 1950 and had nowhere to stay. I know he spent a few nights sleeping in a coffin just after he started.
So, not only did some people have stories of being rescued by a young lifeguard who looked like James Bond, some family has a story, unbeknownst to them, of a relative’s casket being previously used by Bond.
Considering the fanaticism of some collectors, I think it’s good for everyone that there is no record of exactly which casket it was.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite Bond film?