Pierce Brosnan has joined the flood of tributes to “one of the true greats of cinema”, Sir Sean Connery, declaring the Scottish actor as his ‘best Bond.
Sir Sean, seen in the eyes of many as the definitive James Bond, died “peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family” at home in the Bahamas on Saturday.
Over a glittering, five-decade career, the Scottish actor won an Oscar, two Baftas and three Golden Globes, and continued to find huge success after leaving Bond.
Acting legends including Robert De Niro, Kevin Costner, Sir Michael Caine and those who followed Sir Sean as 007, including Daniel Craig and George Lazenby joined the world of film and beyond in remembering the late actor.
Brosnan, who starred as the secret agent in four films, said each subsequent Bond looked to Sir Sean “with reverence and admiration”. in his tribute.
The Irish actor said: “Sir Sean Connery, you were my greatest James Bond as a boy, and as a man who became James Bond himself. You cast a long shadow of cinematic splendour that will live on forever.
“You led the way for us all who followed in your iconic foot steps. Each man in his turn looked to you with reverence and admiration as we forged ahead with our own interpretations of the role.
“You were mighty in every way, as an actor and as a man, and will remain so till the end of time. Your were loved by the world, and will be missed. God bless, rest now, be at peace.”
Sir Sean’s wife, Micheline, told the Mail On Sunday the actor suffered from dementia.
She said: “At least he died in his sleep and it was just so peaceful. I was with him all the time and he just slipped away. It was what he wanted.
“He had dementia and it took its toll on him. He got his final wish to slip away without any fuss.”
Micheline, a 91-year-old Moroccan-French painter who married Sir Sean in 1975, added: “He was gorgeous and we had a wonderful life together. He was a model of a man. It is going to be very hard without him, I know that. But it could not last for ever and he went peacefully.”
De Niro, Costner and Sir Sean starred in 1987’s The Untouchables together, with the Scottish star earning a best supporting actor Oscar for his role as veteran policeman Jimmy Malone.
In a statement to the PA news agency, De Niro said: “I’m very sorry to hear about Sean’s passing. He seemed much younger than 90; I expected – and hoped – he’d be with us much longer. See you up there, Sean.”
Costner tweeted: “I, like the rest of the world, was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Sean Connery this morning
Sean was a crafted actor who was enormously proud of his body of work, particularly his work on stage.
“And although he was a very no-nonsense person, he was incredibly inclusive with me professionally and personally. He was the biggest star that I ever worked with and I will be forever grateful to be linked with him on film. Sean Connery was a man’s man who had an amazing career.”
Current Bond star Daniel Craig hailed Sir Sean as “one of the true greats of cinema”.
Craig, who is due to appear as 007 for the final time in the delayed No Time To Die, shared a tribute via the official Bond Twitter account.
The 52-year-old said: “It is with such sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the true greats of cinema. Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more. He defined an era and a style.
“The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in mega watts; he helped create the modern blockbuster. He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come.
“My thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course.”