Sir Michael Caine has paid tribute to Sir Sean Connery following his death aged 90, calling him: “A Great Star, Brilliant Actor and a wonderful friend”.
Tributes have flooded in for the veteran star, who was the first actor to play 007 on the big screen in Dr No in 1962.
This was followed by From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever.
In a nod to the 1975 film they starred in together, The Man Who Would Be King, Sir Michael added in a tweet: “The Man Who Would Be King was THE KING”.
The producers of James Bond joined the world of cinema in mourning the loss of the Bond star, saying they are “devastated” by his death.
Barbara Broccoli – the daughter of original Bond producer Albert R “Cubby” Broccoli – and Michael G Wilson said in a statement: “We are devastated by the news of the passing of Sir Sean Connery.
“He was and shall always be remembered as the original James Bond whose indelible entrance into cinema history began when he announced those unforgettable words — ‘The name’s Bond… James Bond’ — he revolutionised the world with his gritty and witty portrayal of the sexy and charismatic secret agent.
“He is undoubtedly largely responsible for the success of the film series and we shall be forever grateful to him.”
Australian actor George Lazenby, who succeeded Sir Sean as Bond, shared a tribute on Instagram.
He said: “Only a few weeks ago I was wishing Sean all the best for his 90th birthday. Now, I’m very sad to be condoling with his family and friends.
“Of course, Sean Connery as James Bond inspired me personally but seems to have encapsulated an age, the Sixties.
“I met Sean a couple of times and I was pleased he’d given my Bond film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, his seal of approval.
“He was going to do my film many times and felt it was the best of the Fleming tales. But, to me, the most important thing was his work went far beyond Bond: into charity, into family, into politics and into golf. A man after my own heart.
“A great actor, a great man and underappreciated artist has left us. My thoughts are with Lady Micheline and Sean’s children and grandchildren. Only love, George.”
Colin Salmon, who played MI6 deputy chief of staff Charles Robinson in three Bond films, paid tribute to Sir Sean Connery on Twitter.
He said: “Sean Connery had that dangerous quality that made you think twice. He set his own tempo in every role. RIP maestro.”
Dame Shirley Bassey, who sung the themes to three Bond films including Goldfinger, also paid tribute.
She said on Twitter: “I’m incredibly saddened to hear of Seans passing. My thoughts are with his family. He was a wonderful person, a true gentleman and we will be forever connected by Bond.
“When we were younger I used to cheer Sean on from the sidelines whilst he played football in his team, The Showbiz 11! Well, I will always be there to cheer you on Sean! Forever in our hearts and may you rest in peace.”
The family of Sir Roger Moore, who died in 2017 aged 89, said: “How infinitely sad to hear the news Sir Sean Connery has passed away. He and Roger were friends for many decades and Roger always maintained Sean was the best ever James Bond.”
Nicholas Cage, who starred alongside Sir Sean in the 1996 thriller The Rock, said: “I admired Sean so much. I was happiest when I was working with him – his wisdom, humbleness, and extreme honesty has guided me ever since I met him.
“He was my friend and greatest teacher in cinema. The first movie star to lead the way in combining drama, action adventure, and comedy.
“He did it all effortlessly and with dignity. Maestro, you will be missed.”
Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who starred alongside Sir Sean Connery in the 1999 film Entrapment, said she would “cherish every moment” she had spent with him.
Alongside a picture of them together on Instagram, she wrote: “Farewell my friend. I love you Sean Connery with all my heart. Until we meet again, I will cherish every moment I shared with you. My love to Micheline and the family. Love “the kid”.”
MGM Studios said Sir Sean’s “portrayal of James Bond remains one of cinema’s greatest contributions”.
A tweet said: “All of us at MGM mourn the passing of the legendary Sir Sean Connery. His portrayal of James Bond remains one of cinema’s greatest contributions. We send our sincerest condolences to his family and to his many fans around the world. RIP.”
Alex Salmond, former first minister of Scotland, who was close friends with Sir Sean, wrote on Twitter: “The world’s greatest Scot, the last of the real Hollywood stars, the definitive Bond.
“Sean Connery was all of these things but much more. He was also a staunch patriot, a deep thinker and outstanding human being.
“I have had the rare privilege of being his friend for more than thirty years and enjoyed every single moment of his company and talk.”
He added: “He was honest and brave and it has been one of the privileges of my life to count him as a friend.
“His sense of irony and humour were legendary as was his love of country.
“‘Scotland Forever’ wasn’t just tattooed on his forearm but was imprinted on his soul.”
Actor Hugh Jackman wrote on Twitter: “I grew up idolizing #SeanConnery. A legend on screen, and off. Rest In Peace.”
A tweet from Pinewood Studios, where the Bond films are filmed, said: “We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Sir Sean Connery.
“Memories of this outstanding actor and his unforgettable embodiment of superspy James Bond will forever be cherished at Pinewood.”
Scottish actor Robert Carlyle shared a photo of himself with Sir Sean on Twitter, writing: “One of my proudest moments.. with the great man in 2008.”
Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker said: “Shaken and, on this occasion, stirred to hear that Sir Sean Connery has passed away. Had the pleasure of playing golf with him on a couple of occasions. A real character and for me, the best Bond. James Bond should be immortal.”
Director and actor Kevin Smith said: “He was my Dad’s James Bond, so Dad supported Mr. Connery’s career his entire life, always taking me to see any movie his fave actor was in.
“I have sweet memories of watching Dad watch his movie idol.
“So Sean Connery’s passing also feels like I’m losing Dad again. RIP, Dr. Jones.”
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden tweeted: “Saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Sean Connery – a true legend and British icon.”