Deeper Into Jeopardy! X: Miscellaneous – $600

Jeopardy! category: MISCELLANEOUS (17-04-2014)

$600 clue: The star of 7 James Bond films, he started smoking by age 9 & once worked as a coffin polisher

Correct response

The gist: There have been 25 James Bond films (23 by Eon Productions) released beginning with Dr. No in 1962, starring seven different actors. Two of those actors are tied for the most portrayals. Sean Connery, the original Bond, and Roger Moore, the third, both played the spy in seven films each.* Only Connery, though, has the sort of gravel-beaten voice that comes (one presumes) from starting to smoke well before puberty. Thomas Sean Connery was born in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, in 1930. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1946, after WWII had ended, and served for three years, at which point he returned to Scotland and worked a series of jobs: the clue’s coffin polisher, as well as truck driver, lifeguard, and artist’s model. He got involved, indirectly, with acting in 1951, working backstage at King’s Theatre in Edinburgh, which eventually led to bit parts on stage and screen and, a decade or so later, his breakthrough role in Dr. No. Reportedly, Ian Fleming, James Bond’s creator, was so impressed with Connery’s portrayal that he retconned a half-Scottish ancestry for the character in his later novels. His career as Bond was interrupted by Aussie actor George Lazenby’s portrayal in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and came to an end with the appropriately-named 1983 Never Say Never Again. Outside of acting, Connery is a supporter of Scottish independence, and owns a Grecian villa near that of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Wikipedia (and several copy-pasters thereof) claims that their villas share a helipad – the author was unable to corroborate.

Connery with Ursula Andress (playing Honey Rider) on the set of Dr. No

The clue: Not a great one, in my opinion. As I said, Roger Moore also played Bond seven times, and I don’t think not-terribly-interesting personal tidbits about Connery ought to be what distinguishes him as the correct response. Had I written it, I would have included another more relevant fact -say, that Connery was in a non-Eon film, for example. Anyway, I suppose it’s Connery’s voice (and, perhaps, the rumour that he suffered from throat cancer, which he denied) that really lets you know he’s the one they’re going for. But more than that, it’s simply that in the absence of a good clue to the contrary it’s much more likely to be the better-known choice, which as far as Bond is concerned, is almost certainly Connery.

In Jeopardy!: Sean Connery is a favourite of the show, appearing in 73 regular clues and one FJ! clue in the J!Archive, plus three categories of his own and a fourth, a few weeks ago, in which his name opened every clue. No doubt this is due in large part to the popularity of Darrell Hammond’s portrayal of the actor in the popular Saturday Night LiveCelebrity Jeopardy!” skits (that clip’s dialogue is NSFW, I warn you) – in fact, the show has cribbed from those skits a few times, like the category “Starts with Feb, Trebek” (the original having been “Months that start with Feb”). Anyway, Connery’s rich career means there are many tacks the writers can take to get to him, but unsurprisingly Bond is the most common. The Man Who Would be King is also popular, but really, it’s a good idea to scan his more popular roles for those clues that don’t mention he’s Scottish.

* With Connery including one non-Eon movie in his lost, Never Say Never Again.

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