TRIVIA PRESS QUOTES
Ian Fleming (1908 - 1964)
Date of Birth: 28 May 1908
Best known as the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming's own life provided some of the background for his most famous creation. Hailing from a wealthy and privileged background (he counted among his relatives cellist Amaryllis Fleming, to whom he was half-brother, and his cousin Christopher Lee), Fleming was naturally afforded the best education money could buy, attending Eton and the Sandhurst military academy.
It was while at school in Kitzbuhel, Austria, that his love and talent for writing began to emerge, though it wasn't his original intention to become a writer. He had planned to join the Foreign Service, but failed to meet the entrance requirements and instead took up a post as a journalist at the Reuters news agency. He proved his worth covering a high profile case in the Soviet Union where a number of Royal Engineers were put on trial facing espionage charges.
A short stint working for his family's bank was curtailed by the outbreak of World War II, whereupon he was recruited by British Naval Intelligence. It seemed that, even more so than writing, Fleming had found his true calling - he proved an exceptional officer and soon found himself promoted to the rank of Commander. It wasn't until a decade after his death that the extent of Fleming's wartime intelligence work emerged - it transpired that he was close colleague of Sir William Stevenson, the head of the extremely secretive Ultra Network which, in 1939, had cracked the Nazi's Enigma code. Fleming had been a part of that team whose work decisively changed the course of the war.
While still with Naval Intelligence, Fleming had visited Jamaica in 1944 and fell in love with the island. His friend Ivar Bryce was charged with finding Fleming a suitable property and turned up a beach front property that Fleming would eventually name Goldeneye.
The war over, Fleming's thoughts of employment turned elsewhere and within two years he was working for the British newspaper magnate Lord Kemsley. Fleming had been hired to manage the foreign news sections of several of Kemsley's papers but had only accepted the position on the proviso that he be granted a two month holiday each year which, naturally, he planned to spend at Goldeneye.
Fleming kept his writing skills up to scratch by penning the odd travel article for Horizon magazine, but it was his impending marriage to Lady Anne Rothermere that seems to have acted as the catalyst for Fleming's leap into full time writing. With the wedding day just a few weeks away, Fleming decided that the time had come to start his long-considered novel set in the tropics. He decided to base the story on his wartime experiences in Naval Intelligence and set about crafting a thriller about a British secret service agent whose name he found from the author of a book on ornithology - Birds of the West Indies by one James Bond.
The book, Casino Royale, was an immediate success and led Fleming to pen another eleven James Bond adventures as well as two collections of short stories. He also found time to write one non-Bond novel, the children's classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and a collection of essays, Thrilling Cities which also included the 1964 Bond short story 007 in New York.
Fleming died in August 1964 at the age of just 56, just at the time that his greatest creation was achieving phenomena status around the world in the form of Sean Connery, the big-screen's first James Bond.
* = television
You Only Live Twice (novel)
Octopussy (stories (Octopussy; The Property of a Lady))
The James Bond Story (archive footage) *
SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
The Life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson (1986 -
London: Jonathon Cape Ltd)
Vox (Hungary) no.31 (November 1999) p.28
Empire no.78 (1995) p.88
The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia
(1st edition) pp.134 - 138
The James Bond Bedside Companion pp.41-55
Last Updated: 1 January, 2009
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