Robin and Marian: How Sean Connery enticed Audrey Hepburn to come out of retirement

ROBIN and Marian was Audrey Hepburn's big Hollywood comeback after almost a decade being retired from acting. And it turns out James Bond star Sean Connery helped entice her to return on the period film with Richard Harris and Robert Shaw causing tensions on set.

Back in 1967, Audrey Hepburn starred in the psychological thriller Wait Until Dark, which saw her role as a terrorised blind woman mark her fifth and final Oscar nomination. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star found the production particularly difficult as she was going through her second divorce from the film’s producer Mel Ferrer. Losing 15 pounds due to the stress, she was comforted during the shoot by her co-star Richard Crenna and director Terence Young. Following the film’s wrap, the Hollywood star basically retired from acting, choose to devote herself to her family. However, it was almost a decade later than an opportunity to co-star with James Bond star Sean Connery in Robin and Marian came up.

The 1976 romantic adventure would see Connery playing an older Robin Hood opposite Hepburn’s Marian, who had since become a nun.

This would be the second time she had played an abbess following 1959’s The Nun’s Story for which she was Oscar-nominated.

The all-star cast also included Nicol Williamson as Little John, Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Richard Harris as King Richard the Lionheart.

The latter would be a role that Connery would go on to portray himself at the end of 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

robin and marian
Robin and Marian: How Sean Connery enticed Audrey Hepburn to come out of retirement (Image: GETTY)
audrey and mel
Audrey Hepburn with her second husband Mel Ferrer (Image: GETTY)

Such an incredible group of talented thespians to work with was a very attractive opportunity to Hepburn, as was the fact that filming was near where she lived so her young boy could visit the set. But ultimately it was the fact that her sons were so excited at the idea of their mother starring opposite James Bond.

Connery had portrayed Ian Fleming’s 007 in six movies at this point, with the last being 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever.

Her sons begged her to take the part because of this and she was only too happy to do so.

As for how everyone got on when filming Robin and Marian, Connery and Hepburn were perfectly manageable according to the widow of Will Scarlet star Denholm Elliott. However, this wasn’t the case for everyone.

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