Sir Sean Connery retires from public appearences
He has exchanged the bright glare of the spotlight for the cool shade of the clubhouse. After 50 years of red carpets and press conferences, Sir Sean Connery has confirmed he will no longer make official public appearances, however this does not exclude the golf course - reports the Scotsman
Yesterday Scotland's political leaders were united in their praise for his contribution and wished him well in the future.
The former James Bond actor had been expected to attend the Dressed to Kilt charity fashion show in New York on Tuesday night but pulled out.
The leader of the Labour Party Iain Gray last night said: "Sir Sean Connery distinguished himself as a world-famous actor and brought credit to Scotland for not only his performances but the manner in which he conducted himself in public life. We wish him will in stepping down from public engagements."
While Annabel Goldie, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party said: "Sean Connery and James Bond have become inseparable iconic figures and Sir Sean is probably the best known Scottish and British actor of all time.
"If he has now decided to put his feet up and take things easier then I send him my best wishes and thank him for his magnificent contribution to cinema and to Scotland."
An SNP spokesperson said: "Sean is a great supporter of Scotland and the causes he believes in, and will continue to be so."
The 80-year-old failed to turn up at Dressed to Kilt, a key event of the Scotland Week programme in New York on Tuesday night, which led to speculation about his health. His publicist Nancy Seltzer said the actor was playing golf at his home in the Bahamas.
She said: "I've left word for Sean, who is on the golf course. He told me he wasn't attending and had retired from public appearances."
When asked specifically about his health by The Scotsman, Ms Seltzer replied: "Sean is in great health, mentally and physically. Thank you for asking. When he turned 80 he decided to retire from making public appearances. I do truly think he's earned the right to do so without speculation."
The actor had been expected to attend the event with his wife and his stepson, Stephane Connery and together they would have watched his granddaughter, Saskia Connery, 15, make her modelling debut. In the end Saskia Connery did not attend either as she had "an educational commitment".
Sir Sean is co-founder of the Friends of Scotland charity, which organises Dressed to Kilt. A source was yesterday quoted as saying: "Just earlier this week we had no doubt Sir Sean would be coming in his capacity as our honorary chairman. Then we got a call to say he wasn't coming. Apparently he's on the golf course.
He's made no secret of his passion for Dressed to Kilt over the years and his name was definitely on the guest list. It's all a bit odd."
Fears for the actor's health began last year when he cited an undisclosed health reason for missing a court hearing in Spain. He had been called to give evidence over the sale of a private villa, which was demolished to make way for flats valued at Â£45 million.
In 2003, it was reported that he had cataract operations on both eyes while in 2006 he had a kidney tumour removed. In 2009 he was diagnosed with a heart condition. Yet this did not prevent him from dancing on stage at last year's Edinburgh International Film Festival, where his 80th birthday was celebrated with a screening of his film, The Man Who Would Be King.
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