Mr. Connery’s magnetism didn’t fade as he grew older. In 1989, when he was 59 years previous and had lengthy since discarded his James Bond toupee, Individuals journal anointed him the “Sexiest Man Alive.” His response was to growl that not many males are horny after they’re lifeless.
“The Man Who Would Be King” (1975), directed by John Huston, wherein Mr. Connery performed a British soldier who units out to loot a rustic and is mistaken for a god, was among the many highlights of his second act. When Mr. Huston had first tried to finance a film based mostly on Rudyard Kipling’s brief story of the identical title 20 years earlier, he supposed the function of Danny Dravot, the exuberant rogue who fatally begins to imagine in his personal grandeur, for Clark Gable, the undisputed king of Hollywood in the course of the 1930s and ’40s. (The function of his companion Peachy Carnehan, performed by Michael Caine, was initially supposed for Humphrey Bogart.) Mr. Connery was, Pauline Kael of The New Yorker wrote, “a far better Danny than Gable would ever have been.”
She continued: “With the glorious exceptions of Brando and Olivier, there’s no screen actor I’d rather watch than Sean Connery. His vitality may make him the most richly masculine of all English-speaking actors.” Few actors, she added, “are as un-self-consciously silly as Connery is willing to be — as he enjoys being.”
If he loved playing around on the display screen, Mr. Connery was darker and extra complicated when the arc lights have been turned off. All the time afraid of being cheated, he audited the books of just about all of his motion pictures and sued anybody he thought was benefiting from him, from his enterprise supervisor to the producers of the Bond movies.
In 1978 Mr. Connery and Mr. Caine filed swimsuit in opposition to Allied Artists, the distributor of “The Man Who Would Be King,” over the best way their share of the film’s receipts was calculated. (The case was settled out of court docket.) He was nonetheless at it in 2002, suing the producer Peter Guber and Mandalay Photos for backing out of “End Game,” a C.I.A. thriller wherein Mr. Connery was to star. He later dropped the swimsuit.
The smoldering resentment that fueled his many lawsuits, which he carried with him from his childhood, was additionally one of many keys to his success as an actor.