Ian Fleming- Creator of James Bond

Ian Fleming- Creator of James Bond

James Bond would not have been possible without the genius that is Ian Fleming. Learn more about him in this article.

Mention the name Ian Fleming and one character immediately comes to mind—James Bond.  Thanks to his imagination, generations of movie goers, bookworms, and comics fanatics have come to love the iconic British super spy.

The James Bond author and creator was born on May 28, 1908 in London, England. He came from an affluent family, with his father Valentine Fleming a member of the Parliament for Henley. His father fought and died in combat during the First World War. He was also the grandson of the founder of the Scottish American Investment Trust and merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co.

Fleming attended one of the top schools in England, the Eton College. He later attended the elite military academy Sandhurst. He had a brief stint at the Reuters news agency before trying his hand at high finance. But the onset of the Second World War changed the course of his career.

It was during World War II that the man behind James Bond learned the ins and outs of espionage which would give him the inspiration to create the super spy. He worked for the British Naval Intelligence and received a commission in the Royal Navy. He eventually worked as an assistant to the director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral John Godfrey. In that capacity, Fleming learned a lot about his country’s efforts to win the war.

Fleming travelled extensively with visits to the United States for coordinating intelligence operations. He also went to Jamaica one time, and he was impressed with the island that he would write about it in one of his Bond novels.

Fleming’s experience in intelligence operations gave him the information and insight for his Bond novels. The character of M, or Bond’s superior, is also said to have been modelled after Admiral Godfrey. Yet the full impact of his real-life spy work on Bond will never be known, as Fleming had been sworn to secrecy by the British government.

First Bond Novel

His first novel titled Casino Royale was published in 1953. It was also the title of the 2006 James Bond film starring Daniel Craig, and which served as a reboot of the series. It was written in 1952 while Fleming was on vacation at his Jamaica home named Goldeneye, which was also a title used in another Bond movie.

At first, Fleming was unsure if his novel was fit for publication. But a friend, novelist William Plomer, assured him that his novel had promise.

Fleming was also busy with other writings prior to the publication of Casino Royale. In 1952, he wrote a story about a magical car titled “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” to entertain his son Caspar.

His first Bond novel was hardly a success. But it didn’t discourage Fleming from writing more novels about his suave super spy who had a license to kill. Other titles quickly followed—Live and Let Die, Moonraker, and Diamonds are Forever. Soon enough, readership grew. Many of them were intrigued with Fleming’s tales of fast cars, attractive women, deadly intrigue, and one Agent 007.  In fact, leaders like U.S. president John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Prince Philip of England were reportedly among Fleming’s fanatics.

Fleming would go on to produce a dozen Bond novels and several short stories.  In 1962, his super spy character was brought to live on the big screen with Sean Connery playing Agent 008 in the movie “Dr. No.” Producer Cubby Broccoli helped Bond to become the star in one of the longest running and most successful film franchises of all-time.

Death and Legacy

While Bond was slowly making a name as a popular action character in the early 60s, his creator’s healthy was also slowly decaying during that time. Fleming was a notorious drinker and smoker throughout much of his life that he was susceptible to health problems. In 1962, he suffered a serious heart attack at the age of 53. His health would not improve after then.

He died on August 11, 1964 after collapsing with another heart attack. Coincidentally, his death fell on his son’s 12th birthday.

Still, Ian Fleming will be remembered for creating one of the most beloved characters of all time.


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