An Ocean Ridge man leads a double life, of sorts, as one of the world’s premier Sean Connery impersonators. He specializes as Connery in the iconic James Bond movies, attending lavish parties as a spy-for-hire.
“I go to the biggest parties in the United States and around the world and I’m the star of the party so that’s not a bad thing,” John Allen said. “’We’ll give you some beautiful girls and lots of martinis and some nice cars to stand next to. What do you think? And we’ll pay ya’ I go, ‘ok.’”
Allen began this Bond-like adventure in 1996, when an agent spotted his grey beard in a Boca Raton restaurant and offered him a gig, throwing an actor into Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago swimming pool.
Since then, he’s won numerous awards for his impersonation and collected a treasure trove of memories. Pictures on his apartment walls show Allen adding a Bond-style class to parties and charity events. And he appears to be well paid for it. Allen tells tales of jetting around the world, hired as bond in some of the swankiest parties and kindest charity events.
“I really care about the people having a good time, having fun,” Allen said. “I induced [one honored guest] into her Majesty’s secret service and said, ‘his name is 008.’ It’s the shtick I do.”
The 72-year-old is a bit of a lovable ham. Once a real estate investor, Allen is now well versed in the world of commercials and Las Vegas show business. He practically directed our CBS12 News camera crew around his apartment and beachfront during our visit.
Once, Allen was hired as a body double for Sean Connery on a commercial shoot in the Bahamas. Connery, Allen believes, was aware of his body doubles impressions from friends well before the shoot.
Arriving on set, Allen remembers Connery remarking, “Hello John, you look wonderful today.”
“Of course I do sir. I look like you,” Allen replied.
Allen, perhaps part of his endearing act, partially lives the life of a James Bond super-fan. He has tuxedos in his closet and more in a storage container. His license plate reads, in part, “007,” a gift from a fan at the DMV.
But, he also has a mutual respect for the man whose image has given Allen a second, exciting life.
“Sean Connery really has so much charisma,” he said. “He walks through the door and there he is and it's like, ‘Wow.’”
JAY O’BRIEN: Do you feel like you are living the life of James Bond?
JOHN ALLEN: Here I am, you decide. I don’t know where the beautiful women are but I told them to meet me here