Ian Fleming – father of James Bond
Ian Fleming (his full name – Ian Lancaster Fleming) was an English writer, author of novels about the superspy James Bond. He created one of the major male icons of the second half of the twentieth century. By the time of his death Fleming had sold thirty million books.
Fleming was born on May 28, 1908 in London into a family of a major and member of the British parliament. He was a younger brother of author Peter Fleming.
After graduating from Eton College and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and an unsuccessful attempt to get a job in the British Foreign Office Fleming became a journalist at Reuters News Agency.
In 1933, Fleming was sent on a business trip to Moscow and in the same year he left journalism.
In May 1939, on the eve of World War II, he joined the Navy and served in the UK intelligence. Very soon, he became the right-hand man to one of Britain’s top spymasters, Admiral John Godfrey.
One of Fleming’s best ideas was the creation of the 30 Assault Unit (known as ‘30 AU’). This unit went into action on the front lines and captured the enemy’s important documents and secret code books.
Fleming was in his forties when he began his writing career with Casino Royale in 1953 followed by ten more Bond novels and two collections of short stories.
The James Bond character was based on a number of soldiers and agents Fleming knew during the war.
His prose describes many of the most attractive and expensive places in the world, from beautiful islands to expensive restaurants. He also described in detail the possessions of the rich and successful, whether it be the most reliable guns or smoothest cigarettes, the finest car or best mixed cocktail.
Like his fictional character, Fleming liked adventure, gambling, fast cars, fine wines and good food.
During his career, Fleming met many important people and he used some of them as models for the characters in his books. Q, whose job is to make different spy gadgets, is based on a real person named Charles Frasier-Smith. And the mysterious James Bond’s boss, M, is based on Admiral John Godfrey.
Fleming’s Bond was praised by John F. Kennedy and recommended by Allan Dulles, head of the CIA.
In the film “From Russia with Love” Fleming starred as a passenger on the train. He was on the screen only for few seconds.
He had one son, named Caspar.
Great writer died on August 12, 1964 in Canterbury. He died of a heart attack while playing golf.
Fleming’s characters (James Bond, M, Q, Miss Moneypenny, and Bill Tanner) were also used in the books of Kingsley Amis (under the pseudonym Robert Markham) (1 book), John Pearson (1 book), Christopher Wood (2 books), John Gardner (16 books), Jim Hatfield (1 book), Raymond Benson (12 books) and Sebastian Faulks (1 book).
In 1996, Christopher Creighton published the book “Operation James Bond. The Last Great Secret of the Second World War”. The book tells about the participation of its author and Ian Fleming in a top secret operation of British intelligence on export Bormann from Berlin to England in May 1945. The operation was code-named “James Bond”.
In 2008, The Times included Fleming in the list of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945”. In it, Fleming took the 14th place.
BBC America and Sky Atlantic released the miniseries “Fleming: the man who wanted to be Bond”.