The Scottish actor was best known for his portrayal of James Bond, being the first to bring the role to the big screen and appearing in seven of the spy thrillers.
Sir Sean died peacefully in his sleep in the Bahamas, having been "unwell for some time", his son said.
His acting career spanned five decades and he won an Oscar in 1988 for his role in The Untouchables.
Sir Sean's other films included The Hunt for Red October, Highlander, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Rock.
Jason Connery said his father "had many of his family, who could be in the Bahamas, around him" when he died overnight in Nassau. Much of the Bond film Thunderball had been filmed there.
He said: "We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time.
"A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor."
His publicist Nancy Seltzer said: "There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended."
He leaves his wife Micheline and sons Jason and Stephane.
Daniel Craig, the current James Bond, said Sir Sean was "one of the true greats of cinema".
"Sir Sean Connery will be remembered as Bond and so much more," he said.
"He defined an era and a style. The wit and charm he portrayed on screen could be measured in megawatts; he helped create the modern blockbuster.
"He will continue to influence actors and film-makers alike for years to come. My thoughts are with his family and loved ones."
In reference to Sir Sean's love of golf, he added: "Wherever he is, I hope there is a golf course."
Dame Shirley Bassey, who sang the themes to three Bond films including Goldfinger, paid tribute saying: "I'm incredibly saddened to hear of Sean's passing.
"My thoughts are with his family. He was a wonderful person, a true gentleman and we will be forever connected by Bond."
Sir Sean, from Fountainbridge in Edinburgh, had his first major film appearance in 1957 British gangster film No Road Back.
He first played James Bond in Dr No in 1962 and went on to appear in five other official films - and the unofficial Never Say Never Again in 1983.
He was largely regarded as being the best actor to have played 007 in the long-running franchise, often being named as such in polls.
Sir Thomas Sean Connery was a Scottish actor and producer. He was best known as the first actor to portray the character James Bond in film, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983.
Connery was in smaller theatre and television productions until he got his break with the Bond films. He became a major actor with the success of his Bond role. His films also included Marnie , Murder on the Orient Express , The Man Who Would Be King , A Bridge Too Far , Highlander , The Name of the Rose , The Untouchables , Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade , The Hunt for Red October , Dragonheart , The Rock , and Finding Forrester . Connery retired from acting in 2006. His achievements include one Academy Award, two BAFTA Awards , and three Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award and a Henrietta Award. He received a lifetime achievement award in the US with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1999. Connery was knighted in the 2000 New Year Honours for services to film drama.
Connery was polled in a 2004 The Sunday Herald as 'The Greatest Living Scot' and in a 2011 EuroMillions survey as 'Scotland's Greatest Living National Treasure'. He was voted by People magazine as both the 'Sexiest Man Alive' in 1989 and the 'Sexiest Man of the Centur'y in 1999.
Sean Connery plaque near the site of his birth in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh Thomas Sean Connery, named Thomas after his grandfather, was born in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Scotland, on 25 August 1930. His mother, Euphemia 'Effie' McBain McLean, was a cleaning woman. She was born the daughter of Neil McLean and Helen Forbes Ross, and named after her father's mother, Euphemia McBain, wife of John McLean and daughter of William McBain from Ceres in Fife. Connery's father, Joseph Connery, was a factory worker and lorry driver. His paternal grandfather's parents emigrated to Scotland from Ireland in the mid-19th century. The remainder of his family was of Scottish descent, and his maternal great-grandparents were native Scottish Gaelic speakers from Fife , and Uig on Skye. His father was a Roman Catholic, and his mother was a Protestant. He had a younger brother, Neil. Connery said that he was called Sean, his middle name, long before becoming an actor, explaining that when he was young he had an Irish friend named Séamus and that those who knew them both had decided to call Connery by his middle name whenever both were present. He was generally referred to in his youth as 'Tomm'y. Although he was small in primary school, he grew rapidly around the age of 12, reaching his full adult height of 6 ft 2 in at 18. He was known during his teen years as 'Big Tam', and has stated that he lost his virginity to an adult woman in an ATS uniform at the age of 14.
Connery's first job was as a milkman in Edinburgh with St. Cuthbert's Co-operative Society. In 2009, Connery recalled a conversation in a taxi:
When I took a taxi during a recent Edinburgh Film Festival, the driver was amazed that I could put a name to every street we passed. 'How come?' he asked. 'As a boy I used to deliver milk round here,' I said. 'So what do you do now?' That was rather harder to answer.
In 1946, at the age of 16, Connery joined the Royal Navy, during which time he acquired two tattoos, of which his official website says 'unlike many tattoos, his were not frivolous?his tattoos reflect two of his lifelong commitments: his family and Scotland. ... One tattoo is a tribute to his parents and reads 'Mum and Dad,' and the other is self-explanatory, 'Scotland Forever.' He trained in Portsmouth at the naval gunnery school and in an anti-aircraft crew. He was later assigned as an Able Seaman on HMS Formidable. Connery was later discharged from the navy age 19 on medical grounds because of a duodenal ulcer, a condition that affected most of the males in previous generations of his family.
James Bond: 1962?1971, 1983
Connery as Bond during filming Goldfinger in 1964 Connery's breakthrough came in the role of British secret agent James Bond. He was reluctant to commit to a film series, but understood that if the films succeeded, his career would greatly benefit. He played 007 in the first five Bond films: Dr. No , From Russia with Love , Goldfinger , Thunderball , and You Only Live Twice ? then appeared again as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again . All seven films were commercially successful. James Bond, as portrayed by Connery, was selected as the third-greatest hero in cinema history by the American Film Institute.
Connery's selection for the role of James Bond owed a lot to Dana Broccoli, wife of producer Albert 'Cubb'y Broccoli, who is reputed to have been instrumental in persuading her husband that Connery was the right man. James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, originally doubted Connery's casting, saying, 'He's not what I envisioned of James Bond looks', and 'I'm looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stunt-man', adding that Connery was unrefined. Fleming's girlfriend Blanche Blackwell told him that Connery had the requisite sexual charisma, and Fleming changed his mind after the successful Dr. No première. He was so impressed, he wrote Connery's heritage into the character. In his 1964 novel You Only Live Twice, Fleming wrote that Bond's father was Scottish and from Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands.
Connery during filming for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971 Connery's portrayal of Bond owes much to stylistic tutelage from director Terence Young, which helped polish him while using his physical grace and presence for the action. Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny, related that 'Terence took Sean under his wing. He took him to dinner, showed him how to walk, how to talk, even how to eat.' The tutoring was successful; Connery received thousands of fan letters a week after Dr. No?s opening, and he became a major sex symbol in film.
During the filming of Thunderball in 1965, Connery's life was in danger in the sequence with the sharks in Emilio Largo's pool. He had been concerned about this threat when he read the script. Connery insisted that Ken Adam build a special Plexiglas partition inside the pool, but this was not a fixed structure, and one of the sharks managed to pass through it. He had to abandon the pool immediately. In 2005, From Russia with Love was adapted by Electronic Arts into a video game, titled James Bond 007: From Russia with Love, which featured all-new voice work by Connery, recorded by Terry Manning in the Bahamas, as well as his likeness, and those of several of the film's supporting cast.
Connery died in his sleep on 31 October 2020, aged 90, at his home in Nassau in the Bahamas. His death was announced by his family and Eon Productions that same day. His son stated that he 'had been unwell for some time'.