When folks consider Sean in fact they consider James Bond, however he wasn’t actually performing when he was taking part in that half. In actual life, when he walked right into a room, he walked like James Bond and he talked like James Bond, which individuals might discover disconcerting. That was as a result of he didn’t change something about himself, together with his Scottish accent, which tells you numerous concerning the man.
Sean was a really powerful man in some methods, however very delicate in others. I first met him in 1971 when he was establishing a charity to assist younger Scots [the Scottish International Education Trust], wanting me to become involved – he appreciated how I projected Scotland to the world as a racing driver. He beloved his nation however realised it had its limitations – though Glasgow’s fantastic artwork is famend, he knew there weren’t related alternatives elsewhere within the arts. He understood why folks moved away for brand new alternatives, given he had come from a really peculiar background himself and performed that, however he wished Scotland to thrive from inside.
He was very proud that individuals knew him as a Scot all around the globe. I’m apolitical however he wasn’t; he wished Scotland to be unbiased, and that by no means left him. After Micheline [Connery’s wife of 45 years] referred to as me to inform me he had died in his sleep, I referred to as the primary minister. That’s how essential he was to Scotland.
I’ve been in some attention-grabbing conditions with Sean all through the years. At a charity taking pictures occasion at Gleneagles, he satisfied the king of Jordan to let Steven Spielberg shoot an Indiana Jones and the Final Campaign scene in Petra. He was there with Steven and Harrison Ford, who was shot, however Sean – James Bond himself – couldn’t shoot.
Sean handled everybody the identical and didn’t endure fools gladly. He had enjoyable with folks like that. Not with followers, although – he was all the time type to them, by no means refusing an autograph. And clearly, Sean was very handsome, so every time we went out for dinner collectively, there have been all the time girls chasing him, however he’d all the time be stunned. He by no means considered himself as a star.
I spent a while with him not lengthy earlier than he died within the Bahamas. He was very unwell then with dementia, which is a really merciless illness – I do know this personally, as my spouse has had it for a number of years. It was unhappy seeing him like that, however there we had been, the 2 of us, mendacity facet by facet on his mattress. He informed me he wished to observe Sidney Lumet’s The Hill [from 1965], his favorite movie by which he’d acted. It’s not well-known, however he’s good in it, taking part in a soldier in a north African military jail. That function meant extra to him than all of the Bonds. The subsequent day, he requested me once more if I’d prefer to see it as if he’d by no means requested me earlier than. And so we did.
When he died, I wanted there had been a run of his movies on TV to recognise what he did each for Britain and his beloved Scotland. He was a really expensive pal. I’ll miss him very a lot.
Sir Jackie Stewart OBE is the founding father of the charity Race Towards Dementia