Tom Rothman Pens Tribute to Sean Connery: "The Movie Stars' Movie Star"

Sean Connery
KEVIN WINTER/AFP via Getty Images

The veteran Hollywood studio executive worked with Connery during his years at 20th Century Fox, home of 'Entrapmen' and 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.'

Tom Rothman currently serves as chairman of Sony’s Motion Picture Group. He previously spent nearly two decades at 20th Century Fox, where Connery had a producing deal and starred in Entrapment (1999) and The League of Extraodinary Gentlemen (2003). The latter was the final live-action movie Connery made before retiring in 2006.

In my particular odd line of work, I have had occasion over the last 30 years to watch many famous people walk into resturants and cause a bit of a stir.

But never was there a reaction like what happened every time Sean Connery walked into a public room: It stopped dead. Men and women, young and old, highfalutin and not, turned their heads in unison, sucked in their breath and froze. Yes, its HIM.

When its said they don’t make them like they used to, Sean Connery was that one; the movie stars’ movie star.

I was fortunate to be at Fox, when Sean had his producing deal there and I learned an immense amount from him. I learned if you were on time for a meeting with Sir Sean, you were five minutes late. I learned if you were a collaborator unprepared for the day’s work, you had never heard real cussing until then. I learned that the producer, even if he was also the star, would sleep some nights at Pinewood to be first on the set…perhaps to get out for a round of golf after wrap. I learned that "yes thank you I would like something to drink" on an office visit did not mean Diet Coke. I learned that if you left your long time job, THAT voice would be on the phone offering wonderfully profane advice. And I learned to treat everyone working on a project, no matter who or what, equally, because Himself did so… always.

Perhaps he has done us one last great service, with the timing of his sad passing.

At a moment when the media and Wall Street prematurely proclaim the end of movies, the very name Sean Connery serves to remind us that greatness and the unmatched cultural impact of the artform will long endure.

It is one of the dream come true privileges of my career that I can say : "I knew Sean Connery. Sean Connery was a friend of mine. You Sir, are no Sean Connery…. because none of us are!" Rest in Peace Big Tam.