MI6 uncovers a rare interview with Sean Connery in Hollywood, during his promotional tour for "Dr. No" in 1963...

Sean Connery's Hollywood Press Tour
7th March 2011

Having opened months ago back in the UK, the first James Bond film "Dr. No" was about to go nationwide in the USA in the summer of 1963. Sean Connery travelled across America in March of that year to promote the movie to the theater industry and press alike.

"British actor drums up publicity for Bond film" - March 18th, 1963 (US Press)
James Bond, alias Sean Connery, looked very much the picture of British agent 007 - the double-o classification indicating he was licensed to kill.

He was traveling first class, sopping in an expensive suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. After his potion of whisky over ice, he sat down to a lunch of shrimp, followed by raw hamburger. Two glasses and a bottle of champagne - vintage, of course - were chilling nearby.

His mission in the States? This time he was not up against his longtime adversary, the Soviet murder agency SMERSH. He was seeking bigger game: the American box office. Actor Connery was on a nerve-grinding fortnight tour of the United States to drum up attention for the first film from the Ian Fleming mystery books about James Bond, "Dr. No."

"Just in from Kansas City," reported Connery. "Attended a theater convention. My arm is black and blue from being struck as I was told, 'This is the breadbasket of the USA.'"

Otherwise he seemed unscathed from his arduous mission for the unsecret organization, United Artists.

 
Above: Sean Connery in Hollywood in 1963

He is a rugged-looking chap, trimly tall with a rutted face and black eyebrows that accent his brooding eyes. His voice bears a breath of his native Edinburgh, but his Erin-sounding names is for real; his father was from Ireland.

 

Connery's visit here for the "Dr. No" preview marked a return for him. His previous engagement was a fairly well-kept secret, but he did play the romantic lead in "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" for Walt Disney. "My mother liked it," said the actor.

He also had another run with an American company, even less productive. He played "Requiem for a Heavyweight" on television in London and attracted interest from all the studios. He signed with 20th Century Fox. "There was an atmosphere of death about the company, and I did nothing for two years," he said. "They wanted me to come to Hollywood, but I had no yen to join the charm school."

Connery has no fears of sinking his own identity into the well-tailored form of James Bond. "I have a non-exclusive contract and I am required to make a Bond only every 14 months," he explained. He is returning to shoot the second of the series, "From Russia, With Love" in Turkey and England.

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