The British actor sported a deep tan throughout his movie career to avoid the make-up chair on movie sets, and regularly burned himself in the sun to keep up his look.
However, the veteran star admits he has paid the price for his vanity and has suffered a string of skin cancers in subsequent years.
He tells Britain's The Sun newspaper, "I (wish I) would... have given myself a warning about having too much sunshine. I've had so many skin cancers as a result.
"No one thought about sun screen or creams in my younger days. Even when they started to give warnings, I thought, 'Well, that won't happen to me.'
"I would get sunburned so I did not have to wear make-up in front of the cameras. Every leading man was sunburned."