Homeless Bond Sir Sean slept in coffin, says old workmate

JAMES Bond legend Sir Sean Connery used to sleep in a coffin at the East Lothian workshop where he once worked, a former colleague has revealed.

The Edinburgh-born screen star was learning French polishing and had no accommodation, so ended up staying overnight at a coffin maker's workshop in Haddington.

Tommy Wark, 84, of Fortune Avenue, Haddington, recalled the bizarre sleeping habits just days after the 75-year-old actor collected a lifetime achievement award at the European Film Awards, in Berlin.

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As well as his iconic role as the British spy, Sir Sean has appeared in a vast array of hit films, including The Name of the Rose, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Highlander, Marnie and The Russia House.

But before finding fame and fortune he was known by his first name.

Mr Wark said: "He wasn't Sean Connery then - we all knew him as Tom.

"I was on the joinery side and he worked with two women from Craigmillar who did the polishing of the caskets.

"He came there to start work about 1950 and had nowhere to stay. I know he spent a few nights sleeping in a coffin just after he started.

Mr Wark said another worker later took the 21-year-old Connery home and gave him a room for the rest of his time in Haddington.

The family's kindness was not forgotten and Connery returned to visit them from time to time even after finding fame and fortune.

Mr Wark said Sir Sean had been serving in the Royal Navy for a time before coming to Haddington.

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But he was forced to quit his naval career after a long bout of illness with a stomach ulcer.

He also worked as a bricklayer and a lifeguard during his early days in Edinburgh, and spent free time bodybuilding, a pastime that eventually led to his career in acting.

Sir Sean was brought up in Edinburgh's Fountainbridge area, where there is a plaque marking the humble tenement building where he once lived.

Developers of the former brewery land want to pay tribute to the star - who has been awarded the freedom of Edinburgh - by naming a street after him in their multi-million pound scheme.

The Evening News revealed last month how Sir Sean - now patron of the Edinburgh International Film Festival - had scraped by on just over 1 a week when he had his first job as a city milkman.

The news emerged after his employment records were discovered as Scotmid closed its 130-year-old headquarters in the area.

Staff found the record alongside hundreds of historic ledgers and photographs dating back to the 1880s as they prepared to flit to a new office at Ratho.

The young Thomas Connery began work for the company on July 20, 1944, aged just 14. His official job title was Corstorphine Dairy barrow worker.

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Sir Sean recently gave his blessing to new James Bond actor, Daniel Craig.

The star of six 007 adventures said Craig was a "terrific choice" for the role, adding: "He's a good actor. It's a new departure."