EDINBURGH (Reuters) - If you are looking for kiss-and-tell stories about the Bond girls or movie town gossip, Sean Connery’s memoirs are not for you.
More of a coffee table book, the renowned Scottish actor’s autobiography, “Being A Scot,” is a heavyweight tome written in collaboration with Scottish film maker Murray Grigor.
The book, launched on Connery’s 78th birthday this week at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, relates his 1930s childhood in the poor Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh.
He details his break into acting by way of milk delivery boy, the Royal Navy (invalided out with ulcers), art college model, bodybuilder, and — almost — professional footballer.
But the book is sparse on intimate detail, with Connery apparently shy of revealing too much of his inner self, or of any of the rumored liaisons he may have had.
A passionate Scot, he devotes much of the well-illustrated work to Scotland itself, its history, art, literature, architecture and poetry. He lives, however, in the Bahamas, having vowed not to reside in his homeland until it achieves independence.
The Bond films made him world famous. He is regarded as having defined the movie role of Ian Fleming’s James Bond, following his initial appearance as British secret agent 007 in the first of the series, Dr No, in 1962.
He appeared in seven Bond films, the last of them, “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, regarded as an unofficial production outside the official franchise. In his memoirs, however, there are only half a dozen one-line references to Bond, although Connery does credit his passion for golf to the need to develop a convincing swing to outwit Goldfinger in the 1964 film of that name.
He was equally discreet at the book launch. Asked if he had a favorite leading lady, he replied, “Not really, no.” The book is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson at 20 pounds.
The original idea was for the leading Edinburgh publisher Cannongate to publish, but the Scotsman newspaper reported Cannongate owner Jamie Byng had walked away from the deal due to irreconcilable differences over the book’s contents.
Reviewers seem to have been caught off guard by the book. Only the Sunday Times, whose sister publication The Times had published extracts, gave it a lengthy review. But even reviewer Christopher Hart concedes the long-awaited autobiography turns out not to be an autobiography at all.
It is about Being A Scot, not being Sean Connery.
Editing by Matthew Jones