Sep 30, 2014

Ian Fleming: Creator of James Bond, 007

Ian Fleming 1954
Ian Fleming (1908-1964) was the novelist who created the world famous James Bond.
The series of novels and short stories began in 1953 with the novel Casino Royale. He continued the adventures of British Secret Service agenda, 007, in twelve novels and two collections of short stories, all written from his estate in Jamaica he named Goldeneye. Two of his books were published after his death in 1964. Since his death, several authors have written continuing works. Ian Fleming Publications were copyright holders and kept the novels and short stories going.
Fleming was born in London, England on May 28, 1908; one of four sons, growing up in an affluent and influential family. His father, Valentine Fleming, served in Parliament before fighting in World War I. Fleming was nine years old when his father died in combat.
Fleming attended Eton College and later studied at Sandhurst, the elite military academy. After a brief time with Reuters news agency, he moved to the world of high finance.
Commander Fleming
During World War II, Fleming received a commission in the Royal Navy and worked for British Naval Intelligence. He became the assistant to Admiral John Godfrey, director of Naval Intelligence. He traveled overseas several times, including visits to the United States to coordinate intelligence operations. He also went to Jamaica for a conference, which left a lasting impression on him for its climate and beautiful island scenery. During this time he had imagined and planned to write a novel about espionage after the war. The character “M”, Bond's boss, was based upon Admiral Godfrey; but instead of the background being World War II, the scenario took place during the Cold War. It is unknown how much of Fleming's real-life intelligence work was incorporated into the Bond stories, for he had been sworn to secrecy by the British government after his discharge.
In 1952, he wrote the first novel, Casino Royale, written on vacation at his home he named Goldeneye after a real military mission. It would later become the title of the book and a James Bond film. 
Ann and Ian Fleming
The book was published in 1953, about the time that Fleming married Anne Rothermere, who bore him a son, Casper, in 1952. Fleming later wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for his son, which became a Disney classic musical film. Fleming's first book did not make much notice, but soon his stories about a super spy with a license to kill soon became popular.
Live and Let Die was published in 1954, followed by Moonraker, and Diamonds Are Forever. Much of the background came from his 'Goldeneye' estate in Jamaica and his travel and experiences in the United States.
Real 'Miss Money Penny'
The character, 'Money Penny', (Mary Goodnight in novels) secretary to Bond's boss, “M”, was based on a close friend of Fleming, a society girl of the 1920s, Loelia Ponsonby, wife of the 2nd Duke of Westminster.
The main character, James Bond, did not get his name from out of the air, but from a fellow birdwatcher who published a bird guide book. Fleming met the ornithologist he named his character from and his wife, describing them as “a charming couple who are amused by the whole joke.
Golden Eye estate
Many of Bond's traits and tastes were taken from Fleming himself, such as golfing, a taste for scrambled eggs, and certain brand of toiletries. Bond's cigarettes were the same as Fleming's, custom-made by Morland since the 1930s. Fleming used, as previously mentioned, certain experiences during his intelligence career, as well as other aspects that include names of school friends, acquaintances, relatives, and even lovers. Bond was a heavy smoker until his visit to a health farm in Thunderball. Fleming was also a chain smoker, smoking up to eighty cigarettes per day (4 packs). 
James Bond sketch
Fleming produced a sketch of what Bond looked like, based upon the face of Hoagy Carmichael.
Fleming also imbued character and taste in his fictional super spy based upon individuals he came across during the war. More information can be found about real-life characters inserted in the Fleming novels at Wikipedia entry. It is the classic tales of good versus evil, including characters found to be traitors.
As of August 12, 2014, it has been fifty years since Ian Fleming's death and his character, James Bond, 007, is still known world wide. There can be no mistake that Ian Fleming influenced a culture that has probably lasted longer than others, and will most likely become classic stories that survive the ages, like novels written by Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, J.R. Tolkien, Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour, and Charles Dickens.
Like James Bond, Fleming liked classic cars
Readers around the world began to take interest in the excitement of fast cars, intrigue and beautiful women. President John F. Kennedy and Prince Philip of England were among Fleming's fans.
Sean Connery & Ian Fleming
In 1962, Fleming saw his famous character brought to life on the cinema screen via Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as James Bond. It became one of the longest running film franchises in movie history. During this time, as the world was introduced to James Bond in film, Fleming had his first heart attack, which caused his health to degrade. Fleming died on August 12, 1964, in Canterbury, England in a hospital after suffering from another heart attack. Four years after his death, Chitty-Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was released in adapted screenplay in 1968 film.
James Bond, in books and film, still remain in popular culture, originally portrayed by Sean Connery, for whom most fans think he was the best. When Connery decided to move to other venues in his film career, Roger Moore replaced Connery, definitely with style; as well as Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton. The most recent James Bond was portrayed by Daniel Craig in Skyfall (2012). Bond never grows old and continues to thrill his audience with guns, girls, and gadgets. You can find an outline and list of characters at a Wikipedia entry.
Golden Eye estate
Fleming at typewriter at Golden Eye estate
The international airport in Jamaica was named after Ian Fleming. His influence in cinema and literature is evident in films and books like the Austin Powers series and the Jason Bourne character.
The Harry Potter novels by British author, J.K. Rowling, appears to be heading in the hall of fame direction that Ian Fleming and J.R. Tolkien went – to become classics.
BBC recently produced a TV series: Fleming: The Man Who Would be Bond.

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