Young Sean Connery earned the respect of a notorious Edinburgh gang by beating up six of its members at once

Domagoj Valjak
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Sean Connery is probably the most famous Scottish actor of all time.

His distinct accent provides his characters with a unique flair, and his elegant demeanor gives the impression of an ideal movie gentleman. Fans worldwide have adored all the stages of his artistic persona throughout his career: they have particularly admired his muscular and wit-driven James Bond phase and his later grey-haired and wisdom-fueled portrayal of aged intellectuals.

Sean Connery at the 2008 Edinburgh International Film Festival. Photo Credit

Connery’s beginnings, however, had some rough bumps in it. He never intended to become an actor; he was primarily an avid bodybuilder who supported himself by working various low-paid jobs. His first contact with the world of acting occurred in 1951 when he was working as a backstage maintenance man at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh. He became interested in acting, and two years later he landed a small part in the Broadway musical “South Pacific”. His apollonian physique and his talent were immediately noticed by several agents, and he had no trouble landing roles ever since.

At the time, when Connery’s career started taking off, he experienced a gravely dangerous encounter with the members of the Valdor Gang, one of the most ruthless gangs of 1950’s Scotland. Members of the gang noticed him in a billiard hall, where they started threatening him and attempted to steal his shiny leather jacket.

Connery during the filming for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. Photo Credit

Connery managed to avoid a fight with them and fled the scene. He assumed he was safe and walked on through streets of Edinburgh towards the Palais, a popular dance and theater hall that has since been demolished. However, Connery was followed by six members of the Valdor Gang, who forced him to climb onto the balcony of the Palais. They began hitting him with the intention of causing him serious physical harm, probably because he challenged their reputation by refusing to hand over his jacket.

Fortunately for Connery, the members of the gang greatly underestimated his strength and fighting abilities; he was a trained bodybuilder who had previous experience with bar brawls and street fights. He managed to tackle all six gang members to their surprise and horror. At one point during the fight, Connery grabbed the heads of two gang members and smacked them against each other, knocking both men out.

Connery in 2004 at a Tartan Day celebration in Washington D.C. with members of the USAF Reserve Pipes and Drums.

The members of the Valdor Gang were stunned by Connery’s superior fighting techniques. A month after the fight, several high-ranking members of the gang even congratulated him on the skillful performance and attempted to persuade him to join their ranks.

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He politely declined the offer but was probably proud that his skills had earned him the respect of a ruthless and dangerous gang.