Sean Connery launches new book

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Acting icon Sean Connery may have stopped making films, but he believes something still awaits him out there.

Sean Connery stands next to a copy of his new autobiography "Being A Scot" during a photocall for its launch at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 25, 2008. REUTERS/David Moir

Connery celebrated his 78th birthday with an appearance on Monday on the final day of the Edinburgh International Book Festival to launch his long-awaited autobiography, “Being a Scot.”

During a question-and-answer session before a packed and audience of nearly 600, Connery was asked if he had achieved all he wanted.

“I don’t think so. I’ve come into a different cycle since I decided not to do any more (films),” he replied.

But he added: “I’ve a feeling there is something cooking. I don’t know what it is yet.”

Sharing the stage with him was Scottish film maker Murray Grigor, who collaborated with Connery on the book. Grigor said they had sought a “quirky” approach.

Connery is regarded as having defined the movie role of Ian Fleming’s British secret agent James Bond following his first appearance as agent 007 in Dr No in 1962. He was asked what gave him his first break.

“I realized after 70 years that my first big break was when I was five: I learned to read and write ... so that for me was the break.”

It was that simple and that profound, he notes in his book.

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A passionate Scottish Nationalist, Connery has vowed not to live in his homeland until it is independent. Asked whether there should be a Scottish Olympic team after British successes in Beijing, he responded, “Scotland should always be a stand alone, always.”

In “Being a Scot,” Connery opens with his 1930s childhood in the poor Fountainbridge industrial area of Edinburgh, his schooling and love of football, and his first job delivering milk with a pony-drawn cart. Among other places, he delivered milk to the elite Fettes College private school, where Tony Blair, the former prime minister, was later to study.

“It shows (the school) produced failures, too,” he quipped on Monday.

Football mad, Connery said he was once offered a place with the Manchester United football club while filming the musical “South Pacific.” But a friend talked him out of a football career.

The friend pointed out that a footballer’s career was short and there was no guarantee he would make the first team. “Very likely,” said Connery. Acting, on the other hand, offered a life-time career. Connery opted for acting.

American film director Steven Spielberg said of Connery in 2006 that he was one of the seven genuine movie stars in the world today.

Asked his opinion on current film greats, Connery said, “It’s a bit blurred now, it depends on the deal I can’t answer that question. I’ve never thought about it.”

And with all those Bond Girls did he have a favorite leading lady? “Not really, no,” was the reply as his wife looked on from the audience.

Two particular directors of whom he had fond memories were John Huston and Alfred Hitchcock.

On one occasion, Hitchcock seated beneath the camera and looking up at Connery acting said: “The people of Delaware are not interested in your dentures.” What did this mean? “Your mouth is open when you are listening.”