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Kevin McClory at the Irish Premiere of Thunderball (1965)

9: After teaming up with Broccoli & Saltzman on Thunderball, McClory re-emerged in 1983 with the ill-fated and ill-judged remake Never Say Never Again. It’s been acknowledged that Connery did not get on with its producer Jack Schwartzman as the movie gradually deteriorated, but according to new interviews in the book, relations between the two men were even worse than previously thought. “Jack Schwartzman was terrified of Sean and tended to leave the room when he came into it,” reveals writer Dick Clement. “And there was no love lost from the other direction either. Sean had no time for Jack.”

Producer and star took an instant dislike to each other, which lasted for the duration of filming. “They had a very, very poor relationship,” admits director Irvin Kershner. “It goes beyond what you can imagine.” Barbara Carrera noticed this too, “Sean and the producer just didn’t get along at all. They hated each other.” It didn’t help that Schwartzman often upped and left the production, with few knowing where he’d gone. “He’d leave all the time,” confirms Clement. “He was scared of Connery. There was such tension around the set.”

Clement also reveals that there were terrible rows in the evening, “At the end of each day there was a huge debate about what was going wrong. And my writing partner Ian La Frenais and I would sit in on these meetings until they started to get ugly and then we would get up and say, we’ll just go and make the dinner reservations. So we would go and get a bottle of red wine, start drinking it and wait to see who turned up. And it tended to be Sean. He’d come in and say, bloody Mickey Mouse outfit, and grumble at us. He found it very unprofessional.”

For Connery the filming of Never Say Never Again wasn’t the joy it should have been. Instead of basking in his return as Bond he felt the whole enterprise was jeopardised by a producer that was, “Totally incompetent, a real ass.”

10: Kevin McClory’s final battle was played out on 20 November 2006. It wasn’t with lawyers, avenging film producers or studios, but the sad inevitability of a diseased ravaged body. He died peacefully; it was reported, surrounded by his family in a nursing home in Ireland. “He will be remembered for his love and larger than life presence in the lives of his family and friends,” ran a private statement. “As Ned Kelly always said, such is life.”

The statement also announced that a cremation Service had taken place privately. What wasn’t divulged was the precise nature of the ceremony. McClory was in fact given a Viking funeral. Was this his own final dying wish, to leave this world in a way that he perhaps hoped he’d always lived it – in a blaze of glory? Or simply the final act of a man with a warped sense of grandeur and self-importance?

Paperback: 300 pages
Publisher: Tomahawk Press (18 June 2007)
English Price: £19.99 (RRP)
ISBN-10: 0953192636
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© Robert Sellers, 2007. All rights reserved.