June 9, 2006

Connery feted for iconic 007 and 50-year career

By Alexandria Sage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - With jokes about haggis, kilts and
brogues, Hollywood paid tribute to Scotland's Sean Connery, and
the man who first uttered the famous line, "Bond, James Bond,"
accepted the honor by doing a Scottish jig.

The 75-year-old actor, whose portrayal of Ian Fleming's
secret agent 007 made him one of Hollywood's leading
heartthrobs, was feted on Thursday night as the 34th recipient
of the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Connery did a quick jig as he mounted the stage of the
Kodak Theater after guests applauded a montage of film scenes
from his 50-year career.

"I'm glad you liked my work," he said. "I have to admit it,
it looked pretty damn good from where I was sitting."

Guests including director Steven Spielberg, actors Pierce
Brosnan, Harrison Ford and a kilt-wearing Mike Myers celebrated
Connery's acting accomplishments, which included a supporting
actor Oscar for "The Untouchables."

The sexy strength and sophistication that Connery exuded as
the definitive Bond from 1962 to 1971 was a recurring theme of
the evening.

"Women want to be with you, and men want to be you," Myers
gushed, enviously citing the long list of Connery's on-screen
conquests with names like Pussy Galore and Honey Ryder. "I'll
admit it, I have a man-crush." Myers, who made three "Austin
Powers" films spoofing the James Bond spy series, admitted his
thick accent in the animated film "Shrek" was stolen from the

Actress Tippi Hedren spoke of her difficulties portraying
the sexy actor's frigid wife in the 1964 film "Marnie."

"Acting was never more of a challenge," she admitted.

Scottish comedian and late-night show host Craig Ferguson
recounted how young boys growing up in Scotland were considered
"a social outcast" if their Sean Connery impressions were not
up to par, while Spielberg called the actor one who leaves
audiences "shaken and stirred."

Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep and Barbra
Streisand are past recipients of the AFI award.