Sean Connery passed away on Friday night after about 17 years of retirement. Although he has been away from Hollywood for nearly two decades, the beloved actor's legacy is undeniable. Connery gave his reasons for leaving the entertainment industry behind, though it might have been a confluence of events that truly drove him into retirement.
Connery was a movie legend for about four decades — even playing the original James Bond. In the early-2000s, Connery played just two roles before abruptly retiring. His last was the unlikely superhero Allan Quatermain in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Connery later told The Hollywood Reporter that working on that movie was the final straw. Angry at the director and frustrated with the movie's commercial failures, Connery decided to retire.
"The last one I did, [director Stephen Norrington] was given $85 million to make a movie in Prague, but unfortunately he wasn't certified before he started because he would have been arrested for insanity," Connery said bluntly. "So, we worked as well as we could, and [I] ended up being heavily involved in the editing and trying to salvage."
In that same 2018 interview, Connery even said that he turned down a role in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, despite having appeared in the previous installment. Well into his retirement at that point, Connery said: "I spoke with Spielberg but it didn't work out. It was not that generous a part, worth getting back into the harness and go for. And they had taken the story in a different line anyway, so the father of Indy was kind of really not that important. I had suggested they kill him in the movie, it would have taken care of it better."
At the time, the Indiana Jones website said that Connery considered the role, "but in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun."
Meanwhile, a personal scandal may have contributed to his retreat from the spotlight as well. In 2006, his ex-wife actress Diane Cilento published an autobiography called My Nine Lives, where she claimed that Connery had been mentally and physically abusive to her during their years together. Connery seemed to confirm this in an interview with Barbara Walters, saying it was "no big deal" for a man to hit his wife.
Connery retired to his home in Nassau, Bahamas, where he lived with his second wife, French painter Micheline Roquebrune. He passed away there on Friday night at age 90.