Sean Connery Competed in 1953 Mr. Universe Contest Before Deciding to Pursue Acting

Sean Connery was flexing his muscles years before becoming a household name.

After working a string of odd jobs — which included a gig as a nude model — Connery entered the Mr. Universe pageant in 1953 held in London. He was 23 at the time.

Although he didn’t end up winning that year, instead coming in third place, the 6’2″ Scotsman did end up catching the eye of a local casting director. Afterward, Connery went on to land his first-ever job, a chorus spot in a London-based touring company of South Pacific.

Following a decade of theater and television work, Connery got his big break in 1962’s Dr. No, his first of seven James Bond films.

While reflecting on his early years during a 1999 sit-down with Jay Leno, Connery opened up about some of the more unusual jobs he once took on which included his time as a nude model for the Edinburgh College of Art.

Explaining that he took the job “to make ends meet,” Connery said that he was one of a group of three. “There was an old guy who’d done it for years and years, quite an attractive young woman and myself,” he said. “We used to get six and eight pence an hour for standing stationary with 15 minutes off.”

“I think all work is honorable up to a point,” Connery added.

The original James Bond star, 90, died overnight in his sleep while staying in the Bahamas, his family told the BBC on Saturday. A cause of death was not given, although his son Jason told the outlet that his father had been "unwell for some time."

"His wife Micheline and his two sons, Jason and Stephane have confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep surrounded by family," a rep for the actor told PEOPLE. "There will be a private ceremony followed by a memorial yet to be planned once the virus has ended."

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