Sir Sean Connery surprisingly spent his early 20s lifting weights and working odd jobs to make ends meet before becoming James Bond.
The Scottish actor, who died Saturday at the age of 90, was employed by the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) to be an artist’s model from February to May 1952.
“You used to do nude modeling as a young man, is that true?” asked Jay Leno in a 1999 interview with the actor.
As soon as the audience simmered down, the actor quipped, “At the Edinbugh College of Art, to make ends meet if you know what I mean.”
“There was three of us, actually,” he added, “There was an old guy who’d done it for years and years, and a quite an attractive young woman and myself. And we were the three models.”
He shared that the class was comprised of “mostly women”, and get paid “six and eight pence an hour for standing stationary and with 15 minutes off.”
Richard DeMarco, an artist who had the pleasure of painting the nude Connery as a student, shares how he is “too beautiful for words, a virtual Adonis”.
One of the oil paintings, which showed the Connery’s behind, was discovered nine years ago among a collection of artwork belonging to an elderly lady.
Sir Sean was a keen bodybuilder since the age of 18, and would go on to compete in the junior bracket of global bodybuilding contest Mr. Universe in 1953, landing in third place.
During that time, a fellow bodybuilder told him that auditions were being held for the show “South Pacific.”
“I’d no experience whatever, and hadn’t even been on a stage before, but it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves,” he said in a 1965 interview.
He would make his film debut in the British musical Lilacs in the Spring in 1954, and would rise into dizzying heights eight years later as he was cast as the famous James Bond for the first time in the film Dr. No.