There, seated in a worn leather chair and ostentatiously smoking a slim cigar, the country's first 'celebrity shrink', RD Laing, ministered to a coterie of fashionable artists, actors and musicians who flocked to his West End consulting rooms. The handsome and charismatic Laing had become something of a star himself, on the guest-list at the same parties as The Beatles and mixing with a heady band of intellectual and literary figures, including the likes of Harold Pinter, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.
Sean Connery with co-star Daniela Bianchi in Bond's From Russia with Love His book, The Divided Self, had become a bestseller, but it was his highly controversial methods that were attracting most notoriety. The psychiatrist had begun prescribing LSD to his patients because he claimed the psychedelic drug could help with the process of what he christened 'spiritual unblocking'.
But Laing, who just to add to the weirdness invariably also participated in his patients' hallucinogenic 'trips', was about to snare his most celebrated and possibly his most unlikely client yet - James Bond. The opening that September of the third movie, Goldfinger, had eclipsed even the success of the previous Bond blockbusters.
But its star, Sean Connery suddenly the biggest film actor in the world, was a man in turmoil. Unable to cope with being thrust into superstardom, Connery had become a prisoner at his home, a converted London nunnery. Ex-wife Diane Cliento claims Connery was a violent husband Day and night, it was encircled by a baying mob of female fans, who thought nothing of climbing in through windows in the hope of getting close to their pin-up, or burgling the house when he was away to steal mementoes of the screen secret agent.
Connery's actress wife, Diane Cilento, had read some of Laing's work and arranged a meeting between the two men in the hope that the doctor could help her husband come to terms with his troubling new found fame. From the beginning, it was an unorthodox arrangement. For his part, the actor, who more than most was motivated by the subject of cold hard cash, was impressed by the fact that Laing's exorbitant fee must mean the mind doctor had unshakeable faith in his abilities.
During their first appointment, Laing gave year-old Connery a tab of pure LSD and took about a tenth of that amount himself at the time, the drug was legal and would not become classified until The actor is reported to have had an affair with designer Helle Byrn right and actress Sue Lloyd left He attempted to coax the star into revealing traumatic experiences from his childhood growing up in the tough tenements of Edinburgh.
At times, Laing would literally spar with his famous client, bobbing and weaving like a boxer around the room and swopping stories of his own 'slum kid' upbringing in Glasgow although Laing could slip into a broad Glaswegian accent at will, he was raised in a Presbyterian middle-class household.
Today, Miss Cilento says of the session: More worryingly, the drug-fuelled encounter with the shrink opened up a vault of hidden anger and resentment towards his mother, Effie, whom at Laing's prompting Connery became convinced had withheld affection from him as a boy.
The tumbling out of all this buried bitterness and angst in the months that followed was to have a chilling consequence. It would also reveal in all its brutality Connery's dark side. The actress claimed she had an affair with Connery after they met in This month, the actor publishes his autobiography, Being A Scot. Many who know him had questioned whether the book of his life would ever make it to the shelves. Two previous attempts to work with ghost writers are rumoured to have hit the buffers in recent years when it became clear Connery was unwilling to face up to the most controversial episodes in his life - and the truth about his relationships with a string of women over several decades.
Even now, publishing insiders say he is unlikely to address perhaps the most notorious event in his tempestuous marriage to Cilento, which took place a few months after his disastrous encounter with LSD. The fallout from the drug episode seems to have included the unearthing of a latent aggression in Connery, which manifested itself in the most shocking manner the following summer, when the actor was filming The Hill, the movie directed by Sidney Lumet which depicted the sadistic treatment of our soldiers in British Army prisons during the North African campaign in World War II.
The cast and crew were holed up in the Spanish province of Almeria, which was to double as the African desert. With Connery was Miss Cilento - the mother of his then two-year-old son, Jason - whom he had married in Cilento was an Australian-born beauty who specialised in ice-blonde roles and whose talent had already seen her nominated for an Oscar thanks to her part in the bawdy comedy Tom Jones.
Towards the end of an arduous and unhappy shoot, a wedding took place at the hotel where the film contingent were being put up. Connery and his wife joined the celebrations. Fuelled by Fundador, the fiery Spanish brandy, and sangria, the party went on into the early hours with the shapely Diane the centre of attention as she was twirled around the dance floor by eager male partners.
Connery, 6ft 2in and 15 stone, was no longer in the party spirit. Miss Cilento, who admitted to being a little drunk, remembers seeing his face scowling at her from the sidelines. He sloped off to their room and waited for his wife to return.
There, Cilento claims she climbed the stairs and entered their room in the darkness. From nowhere she felt a blow to her face and fell screaming to the floor. She stumbled to her feet, but another huge blow knocked her back down again. She says she stumbled into the bathroom and locked the door, where she spent the night whimpering on the floor.
In horror the following morning, Diane looked at her swollen and bruised face in the mirror. Connery is said to have become close to Claudine Auger, a Miss France winner and his co-star on Thunderball She quietly donned a pair of sunglasses and, while Connery slept on, slipped out and fled.
Miss Cilento's allegations, which she repeated in her autobiography My Nine Lives, have left an indelible stain on the reputation of Connery, who was knighted by the Queen in Nor, in truth, are her claims the only time Sir Sean has been subject to damaging accusations about his attitude towards violence and women. Just months after the alleged attack on his wife - which Connery has always denied - he sparked controversy when he told Playboy magazine: If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I'd do it.
That's what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation. They want a smack. Scottish writer Meg Henderson, a friend of Connery who fell out with him after he sacked her as his ghost writer for a previous planned autobiography, told me: He has always wrongly felt he could just ignore her.
The marriage limped on for a further eight years - characterised in the main by a series of tempestuous break-ups and attempted reconciliations. During one such reconciliation in Nassau in the Bahamas, Connery and his friend Michael Caine went out for a drink, leaving Diane to cook the lunch. One drink turned to two, and when the actors eventually returned two hours later, the lunch came flying through the air at Connery as he breezily announced: The couple met when Diane was married to Italian writer Andrew Volpe.
Moreover, she was pregnant with Volpe's child. At the time, Connery, a struggling actor, was living with photographer Julie Hamilton, the daughter of director Jill Craigie and the step-daughter of Labour politician Michael Foot. One morning, Connery declared to his girlfriend: She left him a rude message scrawled in lipstick on the mirror and fled to her mother's house in tears.
Connery's subsequent wedding to Cilento in was a farcical affair, with the bride heavily pregnant with their son Jason. Two taxi drivers in Gibraltar acted as witnesses and the reception was held in a shabby hotel, during which the female vocalist flirted with an unshaven Connery.
From the outset, Connery insisted his new wife, who was by far the more successful actor when they met, give up her career to take care of him, Jason and Gigi, the daughter from her first marriage. When she refused to stop work, she claims Connery - suddenly seriously rich thanks to landing the role of Bond - refused to pay anything towards the housekeeping. As the marriage began to crumble following his alleged attack on her, the movie world starting buzzing with gossip about Connery's eye for the ladies.
Crucially, he had already met the woman who would become wife number two. In an attempt to escape the strain of his unhappy home life and a disastrous debut as a theatre director the play, the dubiously titled I've Seen You Cut Lemons, closed after five days , Connery and a bunch of his buddies took off in March to Casablanca to take part in a golf tournament.
On the course he met a diminutive French-Moroccan artist called Micheline Roquebrune she was barely 5ft and he towered above her.
Like Connery she was already married with three young children. But Micheline's husband had disappeared home, annoyed with his form on the fairway, and Connery saw his chance.
Despite the fact he spoke no French and she virtually no English, he spent the remainder of the week wooing her. After the holiday, Connery returned home to Diane, but three months later he called Micheline to tell her he was in love with her.
Not that she was the only woman to pique his interest as his marriage slid into oblivion. As early as two years after his wedding to Cilento, Connery was said to have enjoyed a fling with actress Sue Lloyd, and was seen on dates with American film star Shelley Winters. He was also said to have become close to former Miss France Claudine Auger, with whom he starred in Thunderball.
He married Micheline in Gibraltar in a private ceremony in May , after hoodwinking the Press into believing the wedding had already taken place elsewhere. His choice of location was odd, given that it had also been the venue of his marriage to Cilento 13 years earlier.
Tax exile Connery and his second wife moved into the newly built and somewhat naffly named Casa Malibu, a bungalow in Puerto Banus near Marbella, and spent their time indulging in their shared love of golf when he was not filming.
He took over the role of father to her children Olivier, Micha and Stephane. Meanwhile, Micheline took control of her husband's business affairs and money. She took to following him around the world on his various film sets to ensure he was not tempted to dally with his female co-stars.
During the filming of the mountaineering movie Five Days One Summer, Micheline put on a bizarre display for the cast and crew by wandering around the Swiss alps wearing nothing but a pale green bikini and an oriental veil. The idea, of course, was that she alone should be allowed to distract her husband from his acting duties. She developed something of a fearsome reputation when it came to protecting her marriage.
When Connery starred alongside Catherine Zeta- Jones in the film Entrapment, the possessive Micheline is said to have warned the actress to 'butt out and cool it'. Miss Zeta-Jones had, it seems, made the mistake of gushing publicly about Connery's sexiness and kissing skills during the filming of their highly unlikely screen love scenes.
Connery, who was then 68, had insisted the script be rewritten so there would be a romantic entanglement between him and his year-old leading lady. Micheline's gate-keeping efforts have not always proved so successful, however. In , singer Lynsey de Paul claimed she started an affair with Connery after they had met at a party four years earlier.
She said that even though Micheline was sitting on the next sofa to them as they talked, it did not stop Connery chatting her up and asking for her phone number. Connery then pursued the petite blonde by reciting Robert Burns verses and passages of his own poetry. She submitted, and they started an affair that lasted several months. Finally, after they had made love during one of his visits to her home, the actor said he would contact Miss de Paul the following weekend.
She never heard from him again. Then, in , Connery was seen sharing a lingering kiss outside the Beverly Hills home of make-up artist Nina Kraft, who was working with him on The Rock. The Connerys put on a display of unity a few days later at the premiere of the movie.
But the gossip back in Spain was that Connery was seeing a string of women behind his wife's back. Sure enough, a year later, a beautiful Danish-born designer called Helle Byrn told a Sunday newspaper she and the star had conducted an month affair after she asked him for an interview for a magazine she was working for on the Costa del Sol.
After the year-old-blonde invited him back to her apartment, which was close to the home he shared with Micheline, he seduced her with the distinctly line: He made a point of never being seen in public with his mistress. Today, she does not look back fondly on her affair with the ageing lothario. Miss Byrn, who runs a design school in Marbella, says she realised Connery was using her for sex when he came round to her flat as usual one evening. Her daughter Benedicta, who was six, could not get to sleep and came into the living room with her crayons and began drawing pictures.
It was the last time Miss Byrn saw him.