Every once in a while, the news of a celebrity’s death hits a little bit differently. I’m sure everyone knows what I mean. The most personal ones are generally linked to some part of our childhood.
They’re different for everyone, and I’m sure everyone remembers the moment when they heard the news of a childhood hero’s passing. And I feel like they’ve only been increasing in frequency.
For me, the hardest one was Grant Imahara, who was 49 years old when he died this summer. “MythBusters” was a part of my childhood, and Imahara was a very important part of that. His death was probably the most personal one for me over the past few years, which is saying a lot. I didn’t think there would be another one of that magnitude for some time.
Then I got the news about Sean Connery.
I know, I know, it’s very easy to say all the things I’ve heard — and even said myself — when an older actor dies. After all, he was 90 years old. During his life, he got to be involved in some of history’s most iconic films and played some of its most iconic characters. He’d won an Oscar, received a knighthood and even been voted “Sexiest Man of the Century.” He lived more of a life than most of us could ever hope to.
But I don’t care about all that, I’m still sad.
I can say with some confidence that no individual actor was more of a presence while I was growing up than Connery. He was always there. Even when I wasn’t watching something with him in it, I’d still think of him every time I was scrolling through Hulu and saw all the James Bond movies in my “For You” section.
After he died and everyone was talking about the many great movies he was in, I kept thinking about when I saw those movies and the memories associated with them.
There’s “The Untouchables,” the movie that bagged Connery an Oscar. It’s also one of the first R-rated movies I ever watched. Yeah, that doesn’t feel like much of a milestone now that my parents can no longer control my viewing, but it was big at the time. And Connery was the main reason I watched it in the first place.
Of course, there’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” an absolute classic. I don’t know that it’s my favorite Indiana Jones movie, but like the others, it is totally enjoyable. It was able to bring a new dynamic to a series that could be accused of being a little repetitive. And who brought that new dynamic? You guessed it: Sean Connery, who does a perfect job of playing Indiana’s father.
And who could forget James Bond? While there’s still some debate about who the best Bond is, I still contend that no one can beat Connery’s portrayal. I should know, I’ve seen nearly every James Bond movie. When I was 10, I watched all of them in a pretty short period of time. I even had a wall of sticky notes so I could rank them all as I went. I wish I had a picture of it now.
I recommend all the movies I just discussed, but there’s a lot more from the Connery catalogue that warrants watching. The Connery aficionados all have their favorites, but for the uninitiated who have yet to be drawn in by his marvelous accent, my recommendation is to start with the greatest hits. There’s the ones I’ve already mentioned, but there’s a bunch of others that are worth checking out as well. Just scroll through his IMDb page and look for stuff that’s on your favorite streaming service.
This has been a lot to process, and I needed some time to think about all that Connery’s death meant. He was an icon, one of the handful of actors who truly defined stardom. So, I think it’s time he’s celebrated the way a star ought to be: by watching his movies.