Sean Connery began bodybuilding at the age of 18, and from 1951 trained heavily with Ellington, a former gym instructor in the British army. While his official website claims he was third in the 1950 Mr. Universe contest, most sources place him in the 1953 competition, either third in the Junior class or failing to place in the Tall Man classification.
Connery stated that he was soon deterred from bodybuilding when he found that the Americans frequently beat him in competitions because of sheer muscle size and, unlike Connery, refused to participate in athletic activity which could make them lose muscle mass.
In his early 20s after he had returned to Edinburgh from a three-year stint in the Royal Navy, Connery had worked through a succession of deadend jobs and had enrolled at a gym on the Royal Mile when he was selected by the college for life classes.
Connery was one of a group of models from a weightlifting club. He followed one of his friends who had started modeling at the college and had then got his friends involved.
Former art student John Houston, one of a talented group of students, told The Times: “It was a paid job and most of them stayed for six months or a year. They would be involved in day classes twice a week, holding the same pose and working from 9.30am until 4.00pm. I vaguely remember drawing Connery, but he made no great impression.”
Soon afterwards, Connery moved to London to pursue the acting career in which he would be cast as James Bond in Dr No, which was released in 1962.