As Hollywood awoke Saturday to the news of the death at age 90 of actor Sean Connery, reactions quickly began to pour in on social media to the passing of the first — and, to many, the best — onscreen James Bond.
Beginning with 1962's "Dr. No," Connery starred in the first five Bond movies, establishing the cinematic template for the ineffably cool but always deadly superspy, before stepping away from the role and later returning for two more outings, 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever" and 1983's "Never Say Never Again."
The current 007, Daniel Craig — whose "No Time to Die" is set to open in April 2021 — released a statement on Twitter praising Connery's seminal work as Bond and beyond.
"Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more," Craig wrote, "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.”
Longtime James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli offered their own tribute, writing, "He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words, 'The name’s Bond ... James Bond' He revolutionized the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent. He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him."
Hugh Jackman tweeted a photo of Connery as Bond, writing, "I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace."
Cary Elwes called Connery "the only Bond."
But in recognition of Connery's long and varied career — which included period epics like "The Man Who Would Be King," action thrillers like "The Rock," and his Oscar-winning turn as a hard-bitten cop in the gangster film "The Untouchables" — celebrities and fans alike also paid tribute to other beloved Connery performances.
Sam Neill, who co-starred with Connery in the 1990 submarine thriller "The Hunt for Red October," wrote, "Every day on set with Sean Connery was an object lesson in how to act on screen. But all that charisma and power — that was utterly unique to Sean."
Director Edgar Wright wrote, "It says something for the extraordinary charisma of this Edinburgh lad to have created the most iconic character in film & then, rather than be typecast by it, become equally famous for just being Sean Connery." Wright went on to note some of his own favorite Connery films, from early outings like the 1957 noir "Hell Drivers" and Sidney Lumet's 1965 war film "The Hill," all the way through his late-career resurgence in films like 1989's "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," in which he played Jones' father.
Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman, who worked with Connery during his tenure as a top executive at Fox when the actor had a producing deal at that studio, wrote, “Like others of my generation, I didn’t admire Sean Connery, I worshiped him. Getting to work with him as both a producer and an actor was a singular high point of my entire career. He taught me so much. The Class Act room in heaven has a new lead. And note to all up there: if you are on time for a meeting with the incomparable, unimaginably cool, mega talented Sir Sean, you are five minutes late.”
See more celebrity reactions below:
Sean Connery in his first starring role, as a washed-up boxer. He was a fine actor and by most accounts a good guy. pic.twitter.com/q1kmxUrFGC
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) October 31, 2020
He was my Dad’s James Bond, so Dad supported Mr. Connery’s career his entire life, always taking me to see any movie his fave actor was in. I have sweet memories of watching Dad watch his movie idol. So Sean Connery’s passing also feels like I’m losing Dad again. RIP, Dr. Jones. pic.twitter.com/8ElVyac1kV
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) October 31, 2020
Sean Connery was a legend, one of the greatest actors of all time. He provided endless entertainment for all of us & inspiration for me. I’m not just saying that because he was a bodybuilder who placed in the Mr. Universe contest! He was an icon. My thoughts are with his family.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) October 31, 2020
Sean Connery was a movie legend, even far into his golden years. Our strongest Bonds were formed by him, and he was Untouchable. He passed today at age 90, a suave hero to the end.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) October 31, 2020
It says something for the extraordinary charisma of this Edinburgh lad to have created the most iconic character in film & then, rather than be typecast by it, become equally famous for just being Sean Connery. A real screen legend; oft imitated (by all!) but never equalled. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/TOdAI0Fxnv
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) October 31, 2020
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) October 31, 2020
This famous scene would’ve been nothing without Connery. Under the cool you see desperation, genuine fear, strategy, arrogance when his ploy works, ending with indignation when he sees he’s getting shot anyway.
RIP Sean Connery.
The BEST. https://t.co/jaAQ7cnX9s via @YouTube pic.twitter.com/WyzTn4m1LR
— Brad Bird (@BradBirdA113) October 31, 2020
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.