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Sean Connery traded James Bond for running boards when staging a play


From Russia with Luvvies: Sean Connery swapped James Bond for running boards when he staged a play in newly excavated images a week after his death at the age of 90

We all know him as 007 – polite tuxedo, martini in one hand and a glimmer in the eye.

But ready to be shaken and touched as newly discovered images reveal another side of Sir Sean Connery: that of Thespian and director.

The photos uncovered by the Mail show Connery – with a mustache and glass of wine in place of James Bond's favorite drink – when he tried to stage a play in the 1960s.

Instead of the spy's tuxedo jackets, he wears a polo neck with a plaid jacket.

Photos uncovered by the Mail show Sean Connery (pictured) – with a mustache and a glass of wine instead of James Bond's favorite drink – when he tried to stage a play in the 1960s

The images are from the relatively early days of his film career and show the Scotsman who led rehearsals for Ben Jonsons Volpone at London's Garrick Theater in 1967 – five years after he first played the role of 007.

Our exclusive pictures show Connery, who died last weekend at the age of 90, with two actors known a million times over: Leonard Rossiter and Leo McKern, perhaps best known for the classic TV series Rumpole of the Bailey. The third is former Doctor Who actress Maureen O & # 39; Brien, who was on the series for a brief period in the 1960s.

Connery with Ursula Andress for Dr. No in 1962. Connery, the first James Bond, went on six official spy trips, beginning with Dr. No in 1962 and ending with Diamonds Are Forever in 1971

Connery with Ursula Andress for Dr. No in 1962. Connery, the first James Bond, went on six official spy trips, beginning with Dr. No in 1962 and ending with Diamonds Are Forever in 1971

Photos show the late actor in a chair during a run through for Jacobean satire, while McKern plays off his lines on his knees as the greedy Venetian aristocrat Volpone. Rossiter played the role of the merchant Corvino and his wife Celia, Miss O & # 39; Brien.

In the play, Volpone – which means "clever fox" in Italian – watches his greedy neighbors swarm around him to inherit his fortune after he pretends to be terminally ill.

Connery was the mastermind behind transferring the play from the Oxford Playhouse to the Garrick after seeing it with his then-wife, Diane Cilento.

He and theater producer Peter Bridge financed the move. Miss O'Brien, now 77, spoke about her time on the set with Connery and told the Mail, “I had to sit on Connery's knee at some point for the promotional photos.

Connery was the mastermind behind transferring the play from the Oxford Playhouse to the Garrick after seeing it with his then-wife, Diane Cilento

Connery was the mastermind behind transferring the play from the Oxford Playhouse to the Garrick after seeing it with his then-wife, Diane Cilento

“It was the early days of the miniskirt, before tights became a matter of course, so I was in stockings.

Sean Connery noticed that my stockings and suspenders were clearly visible.

"He pointed this out to me in a very loving and friendly manner and helped me to rearrange my tiny skirt."

Connery started in the theater in 1953 and ended up as one of the Seabees choir boys in the musical South Pacific before later taking on the roles of Marine Corporal Hamilton Steeves and then Lieutenant Buzz Adams.

He auditioned after competing in a bodybuilding competition in London. The star has appeared on stages across the UK, in Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution, in The Bacchae at the Oxford Playhouse and in Eugene O'Neill's production of Anna Christie.

Connery, the first James Bond, went on six official spy outings, starting with Dr. No in 1962 and ending with Diamonds Are Forever in 1971.

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