$450 Million Lost; Sean Connery Declined To Play The Role Of Gandalf In Lord Of The Rings and Skipped Out On Millions

Sean Connery has been one of the most iconic actors of the 20th century. His charming demeanor and commanding presence on screen have immortalized him in the Hollywood Hall of fame. Over five decades he has appeared in over 70 movies and has won several accolades.

Rising to the spot of 13th most popular actor during his lifetime, Sean Connery made himself both name and money. With a net worth of $350 million in 2020 when he passed, the late veteran actor is considered to be the richest James Bond of all time. Among his many credits are the James Bond franchise, Indiana Jones, The Untouchables, and many others. 

Sean Connery – The Spy Who Got Rich

Sean Connery started his career in the late 1950s with small parts in British films and television shows.  In 1962, he was cast as the suave, sophisticated British spy James Bond in the film Dr. No. The film was a huge success, launching Connery’s career to new heights. 

From Goldfinger to The Man Who Would Be King, Connery showcased his undeniable talent. He went on to do seven movies in the same series. It established him as a sex symbol and an international movie star. Though he was only paid $50,000 for Goldfinger, through his demands he earned $750,000 for You Only Live Twice and $1.25 million for Diamonds Are Forever.

A collage of Sean Connery as James Bond (left) and in his old age (right)

Sean Connery was the first actor to portray fictional agent James Bond. He starred in seven Bond films (1962-1983). Credit: Collage by PokCas

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Connery’s career included an array of films. Among them are the sci-fi classic Highlander, the American crime film The Untouchables, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

A Knight But Not A Wizard – The Multi Million Lord of the Rings Deal

Despite his independent character, he declined some role offers. This includes the popular role of Gandalf the Wizard in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

The role, if he partook, would have paid him around $450 million including the fact that he would be part of another extremely renowned franchise. The actor had turned down the role, not being able to understand the script.

I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don’t understand it. Ian McKellen, I believe, is marvelous in it.” – Sean Connery on rejecting the role of Gandalf in LOTR

He was also approached for roles in The Harry Potter Franchise, as Albus Dumbledore, and The Matrix Trilogy, for the Architect. He turned down both roles and lost out on millions in the process as both movies are household names in cinema. Additionally, Sean Connery rejected major roles in Blade Runner, Die Hard With A Vengeance, and Jurassic Park

The Lifestyle Of A Knight – Sean Connery’s Assets & Real Estate

With his success, Connery was able to live a luxurious lifestyle. He had a passion for golf and fine art. The fame and glory brought to his table, wealth, and an exquisite sense of style. Amongst his most prized possessions were:

  • Rolex Submariner Reference 6538 from Dr. No.
  • A silver Aston Martin DB5 which sold at auction for $2.4 million.
  • An extensive collection of rare books were first edition works by Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, and Ian Fleming.
  • Valuable paintings including the works of Picasso, Matisse, Magritte, and Monet.
a selfie on sean connery enjoying a swin in his bahamas residence private pool

Sean Connery enjoying a swim in his Lyford Cay Bahamas residence. The property is private with an oceanfront to call its own. This is the same home in which Sean Connery passed away in 2020. Credit: James Bond Lifestyle

Concerning real estate, Sean Connery did not seem to shy away from grandeur. His Spanish home in Marbella was a particularly affluent property, which he sold for €6.4 million in 1999. He also owned a Riviera Villa in southern France valued at $48 million in 2020. Sean Connery also owned an Oceanfront Palatial Estate in Lyford Cay, Bahamas with its private beach and a Greek Riviera on Skopelos, offering breathtaking panoramas of the Aegean Sea.

A Retrospective Look At Sean Connery’s Life And Times

The Scottish actor was born Thomas Connery, on 25th August 1930 in Edinburgh. He left school at 13 to take up various occupations. His very first job was as a milkman in Edinburgh. 

In 1946 he joined the Royal Navy at 16 but was discharged at the age of 19 due to medical grounds. He subsequently became a bodybuilder and model. In 1953, he placed third in the Mr. Universe Body Building competition held at The Royal Hotel, Wolburn Place in London. 

He later started working in movies which earned him most of his grand net worth, his high standing among the film community as well as 2 academy awards and a Crystal Globe for contributions to world cinema. In 2000, he was knighted by the Queen of England, for his services to film drama. 

(left) sean connery being knighted by the Queen of England. (right) Sean connery waving to the cameras with his wife after his knighthood ceremony.

Sean Connery was knighted by the Queen of England at an investiture ceremony in July 2000. He had been previously nominated for knighthood in 1997 and 1998. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It’s one of the proudest days of my life.” – Sean Connery at his knighting

The actor went through a long phase of controversy on violence against women along with the fact that his first wife alleged him of mental and physical abuse. He vocalized his rectification in 2006 in an interview with The Times of London that no level of abuse towards women is justified despite the circumstances. At 90, he passed away in October 2020, leaving a lasting mark as one of cinema’s most influential figures of the 20th century.

He was survived by his wife Micheline Roquebrune and his sons, Jason and Stephane Connery.

In The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Apart from his extraordinary career, Sean Connery has left behind a legacy of philanthropy. He established the Scottish International Educational Trust to provide grants and scholarships to students from Scotland and donated $1.25 million from his paycheck from Diamonds are Forever. He also donated money to support the Scottish International Relief Fund, which provides aid to people in developing countries.

Connery was a patron of the Scottish Youth Theatre and Edinburgh International Film Festival, which offers theater training and performance opportunities to young people in Scotland. He supported the Scottish charity, Dressed to Kilt, which raises money for veterans’ organizations.

snapshot image of the connery foundation website, dedicated to the philanthropy organization created in as an ode to Sean Connery by his family.

The emphasis of the Connery Foundation will be on education and ocean conservation in the countries of Scotland and the Bahamas. Credit: Connery Foundation

In 2022, two years after the passing of the great actor, his family established a foundation in his name that provides grants to institutions within Scotland and the Bahamas. This foundation is aimed at bringing positive changes in educational, vocational, and medical areas of interest. It committed £6 million at the end of 2022.

The legacy of Sir Sean Connery as an actor remains strong even today, celebrated by fans and critics alike. As well as defining the role of the leading man in Hollywood, he has paved the way for future generations of artists. In the afterglow of his passing, Sean Connery’s legacy continues to inspire and entertain audiences.

Hifza Muhammad

Hifza is a contributing writer at PokCas. She is an entertainment, lifestyle content creator, and celebrity news reporter. Her work has previously been featured in various popular online news outlets.