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The Sean Connery Movie Salary That Made The Guinness World Records

Sean Connery, who sadly passed away on October 31, 2020, was one of the biggest names to ever grace the silver screen. With over 50 years of incredible work under his belt, Connery turned in performances that defined the latter half of the 20th century and solidified him as an indisputable star. Of course, such a status isn't all work, since becoming a household name comes with a fair few luxurious perks if you get as famous as Connery did. Chief among these goodies are some pretty mammoth paydays.

Connery played a hand in a number of the cinema's most important franchises — from the adventures of the British MI6 agent James Bond to the Nazi-punching exploits of the part-time-professor-slash-part-time-archaeologist Indiana Jones. Since these were big-budget blockbusters and Connery's name value was incredibly high, the studios paid him accordingly for his participation in their productions (even if it was just a cameo). In fact, at the time of Connery's death, estimates put his total net worth somewhere around $350 million, which is remarkable considering his last movie of any kind is coming up on its tenth anniversary.

Way back when, one of Connery's movie salaries even managed to land him in the Guinness World Records.

Sean Connery's Diamonds Are Forever paycheck was astounding for the time

In 1962, Connery took on his most well-known role — James Bond — for the very first time in the film Dr. No, kicking off a string of 007 movies that went a long way in cementing him as a Hollywood mainstay. Naturally, as the years went on, Connery grew tired of the same old Bond routine. Couple that with backstage clashes with the producers, and Connery was more than prepared to leave the character behind after nearly a decade. He intended for 1967's You Only Live Twice to be his last ride as Bond – and for a few years, it was. George Lazenby moved in to take on the part for 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service, his only appearance in the role.

According to Time, the next man for the job was American actor John Gavin, but the head of United Artists (a subsidiary of Bond production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) was less than keen about him as 007. As a result, studio executives made an overture toward Connery in hopes he'd come back for 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, which he ultimately did. 

However, Connery's decision didn't come out of the kindness of his heart or his passion for Ian Fleming's works, but rather for the extra stuff the studio offered him. His contract stated he'd earn 12.5 percent of the movie's gross, a bonus if shooting ran over the projected schedule, and "the chance to produce two further films of his own choice for United Artists" ... all on top of a set $1.25 million salary (via The Guardian).

Compared to modern actor salary numbers, this rate is rather unimpressive, but in the early 1970s, paying an actor such a number was unheard of, no matter how popular the franchise was. According to The Guardian, Connery didn't end up holding on to all that cash. Instead, he donated most of his Diamonds Are Forever pay to the charity he founded, the Scottish International Education Trust — putting his record-breaking paycheck toward a good cause.