Sir Thomas Sean Connery is probably the most famous Scottish actor, best known for his role as the secret agent James Bond.
Ever since his first appearance on stage, the audience around the world immediately fell in love with Connery’s charismatic personality and Apollonian physique, and through the years, everyone enjoyed his transformation into a wise grey-haired intellectual.
What many people don’t know about Connery is that he was also a feared street brawler in Edinburgh.
Once he beat a gang of four while hanging out with actor Michael Caine, and another time, he defeated six people in a street fight.
Even though his acting career spanned for over fifty years, in his youth, Connery never intended to become an actor.
Bodybuilding was his passion. He began bodybuilding at the age of 18, and after two years started training with Ellington, a former gym instructor in the British army.
Connery’s first job was as a milkman and later he took on various different low-paying jobs such as laborer, lifeguard, and truck driver. He supported himself with those jobs, while regularly training in the gym.
His nickname as a weightlifter was “Big Tam,” and in 1950, he competed for Scotland in the Mr. Universe contest and won third place.
In 1951 he worked at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh as a backstage maintenance worker. It was his first contact with the world of acting, and soon he got offered to audition for a role in the Broadway musical South Pacific.
He was immediately noticed by several agents, and he loved the exposure to the big stage. With his charm and looks, it wasn’t hard for Connery to win other roles and to prosper fast in the acting world.
At the time when his acting career started and was still better known as Big Tam, Connery experienced a very serious and dangerous encounter with some members of the Valdor Gang.
The Valdor Gang was one of the most barbarous street gangs that roamed the streets of Edinburgh in the 1950s.
One evening, while Connery was playing in a billiard hall, members of the gang fancied his shiny leather jacket. They started threatening him and even attempted to steal the jacket.
Trying to avoid a fight, Connery managed to escape the scene but was followed by six Valdor Gang members as he walked to the Palais, a popular dance and theater hall at the time, now demolished.
Noticing that he was being followed, Connery was forced to climb onto the balcony of the Palais and there, the six men started hitting him. Apparently, they were angry because Connery challenged their reputation by refusing to give them his jacket.
And they would have caused the actor serious physical injuries if it wasn’t for his strength, fighting abilities, and experience with street fights and bar brawls. To their great surprise and horror, Connery managed to deal with each one of the Valdor Gang members that attacked him.
At one point during the fight, just like in a movie scene, he grabbed the heads of two of the men and smacked them against each other, after which both of them were knocked out.
Word about Connery’s superior fighting techniques reached some high-ranking members of the Valdor gang. They started praising him and even offered him to join their ranks, which Connery politely refused. However, he earned the respect of the ruthless and dangerous gang.