Milkman to Superstar

Sean Connery

Reading Comprehension for August 25

Superstar Sean (Shawn) Connery started out as a milkman -- at the age of 9.

The world was plunging into hard times as the future James Bond made his first appearance. The actor was born August 25, 1930, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His family wasn't well off. The Depression made life even harder.

Sean was the eldest of the family's two boys. He had to work to help feed his family. When he was only nine years old, he began delivering milk before school. Later he took a second job after school working in a butcher shop. At thirteen, he went to work full time. Three years later, he joined the Royal Navy.

His career as a sailor, however, was cut short by illness. Connery worked here and there, shoveling coal or doing other heavy labor. He grew into a big man, standing 6'2" by the time he was 18 years old. His hard work built muscles. As a hobby, he lifted weights. He began to get jobs as a model for art classes.

In 1953, he placed third in the Mr. Universe contest. After the pageant, he branched out into stage acting. It wasn't a big leap from the stage to TV and movies. Film critics liked Connery's work. He was chosen to play the lead in a film based on a spy novel.

Several "big name" stars like Cary Grant were considered for the part. Big names command big salaries, however. Connery's "small name" was just the right size for the spy film's undersized budget. Besides, his body-builder frame and fluid way of moving fit the role Connery was to play.

Manners were another matter. Sean Connery had grown up on the rough side of town. In order to play a suave man of the world, he needed some etiquette lessons. In the end, though, the small-budget film was a big hit. Its success was due in large part to the unknown actor in the lead role.

The movie was Dr. No. Its plot centered on a British secret agent who was code-named 007. The film flickered across theater screens for the first time in 1962. That's when the world first heard the dashing hero introduce himself as: "Bond, James Bond." The words were spoken in Connery's Scottish burr. They would become one of the most well-known lines in movie history.

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