Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was an English author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer, best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst and the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through a number of jobs before he started writing.
While working in British Naval Intelligence during Second World War, Fleming was involved in the planning stages of Operation Mincemeat and Operation Golden Eye. He was also involved in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.
Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952. It was a success, with three print runs being commissioned to cope with the demand. Eleven Bond novels and two short-story collections followed between 1953 and 1966. The novels revolved around James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond was also known by his code number, 007, and was a commander in the Royal Naval Reserve. The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming fourteenth on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
He was married to Ann Charteris, who was divorced from the second Viscount Rothermere as a result of her affair with Fleming. Fleming and Charteris had a son, Caspar. Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker who suffered from heart disease; he died in 1964, aged 56, from a heart attack. Two of his James Bond books were published posthumously, and a further five authors have since produced Bond novels. Fleming's creation has appeared in film twenty-four times, portrayed by seven actors.
Bond. James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks and Jeffery Deaver; a new novel, written by William Boyd, is planned for release in 2013. Additionally, Charlie Higson wrote a series on a young James Bond and Kate Westbrook wrote three novels based on the diaries of a recurring series character, Moneypenny.
The fictional British Secret Service agent has also been adapted for television, radio, comic strip and video game formats as well as being used in the longest continually running and the second-highest grossing film franchise to date, which started in 1962 with Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as Bond. As of 2012, there have been twenty two films in the Eon Productions series, with a twenty third, Skyfall, due for release on 26 October 2012. The film will star Daniel Craig in his third portrayal of Bond: he is the sixth actor to play Bond in the Eon series. There have also been two independent productions of Bond films, Casino Royale, a 1967 spoof, and Never Say Never Again, a 1983 remake of an earlier Eon-produced film, Thunderball.
Fleming took the name for his character from that of the American ornithologist James Bond, a Caribbean bird expert and author of the definitive field guide "Birds of the West Indies"; Fleming, a keen birdwatcher himself, had a copy of Bond's guide "Birds of the West Indies" and he later explained to the ornithologist's wife that "It struck me that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born". He further explained that:
"When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument ... when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, (James Bond) is the dullest name I ever heard."
—Ian Fleming, The New Yorker,
21 April 1962
On another occasion Fleming said: "I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, 'James Bond' was much better than something more interesting, like 'Peregrine Carruthers'. Exotic things would happen to and around him, but he would be a neutral figure—an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department."