Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming, born in Mayfair, London England was a famous author and journalist. He is best remembered for creating the James Bond Character whose adventures he depicted in several novels and short stories. Some of the better known stories by Ian Fleming are "Casino Royale", "Live and Let Die", "Moonraker", "Diamonds Are Forever", "From Russia with Love", "Dr. No", "Goldfinger", "For your Eyes Only", "The Spy Who Loved Me", "On Her Majesty’s Secret Service", "You Only Live Twice", "The Man With The Golden Gun", "Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights". He also wrote some non-fiction books and the well-known children's story "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

Ian Fleming was born on May 28th 1908 and had three other siblings. It wasn’t long before an intense competitive nature grew between Ian and his elder brother Peter who also became a respected author. Ian Fleming was born into an affluent family, but eventually grew to have a dislike for what he thought was a snobbish political family. Additionally, Ian often felt he was being kept in his brother's shadow, at least for the early years of his life.

Before becoming a famous author, Ian Fleming worked as a journalist and stockbroker up until the outbreak of World War II. However, in 1939, Ian Fleming was asked to serve his country in a very unique and exciting way. He was sent to Moscow with papers claming him to be a reporter, but he was actually reporting to the British Foreign Office. When he came back from his successful mission in Moscow, he met with Rear Admiral John Godfrey, the director of Naval Intelligence. Ian impressed the Admiral with his dedication to the war effort and his enthusiastic interest plus his great reporting abilities.

After that meeting, Ian Fleming was soon serving as a personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, Rear-Admiral John Godfrey. The knowledge Fleming acquired while working in the intelligence community no doubt provided him with the background and experience needed to write such convincing spy novels. In fact, it is widely held that his first James Bond story "Casino Royale" was actually based on the real life Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Christine Granville.

Ian Fleming’s impressive capacity for languages greatly facilitated him as a high ranking naval officer. His war record is in fact quite impressive. During a training exercise he actually swam underwater and attached a mine to a tanker. This experience became literary substance for the climax of his novel "Live and Let Die". Ian Fleming was also given the responsibility to travel around the world to coordinate intelligence efforts for the British Pacific Fleet.

Working next to Rear-Admiral Godfrey helped Fleming to cultivate a wide range of skills plus many adventurous tales that would later be reflected in the James Bond adventures. The Admiral claimed that Ian Fleming's knowledge of the systems and processes of the Naval Intelligence Division was better than most of employees who had worked in the department for many years. He claimed that Ian Fleming was simply a very bright and fast learner with an impeccable memory.

As the war progressed, Ian Fleming was invited to contribute to discussions and planning sessions more often. His ideas were completely off the wall, but they always had an intriguing possibility of success. Admiral Denning, who also worked with Ian Fleming, reported that many of the operations he was involved in were top-secret, and that the culture of the Naval Office was strongly reflected in the James Bond adventures. On one of his intelligence missions he visited Jamaica, a place Ian Fleming came to love and later built a home there.

After the end of the war, Ian Fleming became the foreign manager for Kemsley newspapers where he was working mostly for the Sunday Times. There his creative imagination remained rather low key until 1952 when he settled down at his house in Jamaica. He married his wife Ann Fleming that same year after a long on again – off again relationship. It was Ian’s first marriage and her third. They had one son together named Caspar who Ian Fleming wrote the story "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" for.

Many of the James Bond books by Ian Fleming were actually written at his house on the north coast of Jamaica. The British Prime Minister Anthony Eden even spent some time at this house during the Suez crisis before he resigned in 1957. The first Bond adventure "Casino Royale", which appeared in 1953 was the first of many such adventures. This novel created what would become the basic structure for the rest of the Bond books. The James Bond character routinely travels to some exotic places where he meets beautiful women with secrets in their past. Sometimes Bond is caught and tortured by his enemies, but he always wins in the end and destroys the villain and of course gets the girl. As it turns out, Ian Fleming’s wife at one time actually labeled her husbands books as "pornography"

Ian Fleming's work was starting to gain more positive attention and praise. In fact, the stories "Dr. No" and "From Russia With Love" were receiving four and five-star reviews and gaining considerable popularity that Ian Fleming had never dreamed of. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy, in a LIFE magazine interview announced that "From Russia With Love" was one of his top-10 novels of all time. In that interview, Kennedy reported that he was fascinated by the fine line that dividing the life of Ian Fleming from the fantasy life created in his books."

Ian Fleming was also a noted book collector who put together an impressive library on the theme of ‘significant books in the history of western civilization’. He felt they were all books that had contributed to society in some great way. He particularly collected books relating to science and technology such as "On the Origin of Species". Ian Fleming also possessed such titles as "Mein Kampf" and "Scouting for Boys". Many books from his private collection are now housed in the Lilly Library at Indiana University.

Ian Fleming is buried in the church yard cemetery at the village of Sevenhampton, near Swindon, England next to his wife Ann, who passed away in 1981 and his son, Casper, who died in 1975. He was buried there on August 15, 1964 just a month before his spy creation "Goldfinger" hit the cinema screens starring Sean Connery. Many would agree that it was this film in particular that really made the James Bond character a worldwide phenomenon.

At the time of his death, Ian Fleming left three unfinished short stories including "The Living Daylights" and "Octopussy". These works later turned out to be two of the Bond series’ largest-grossing movies starring Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. The year after Fleming’s death, the combined sales of his James Bond books exceeded 27 million copies worldwide, making him one of the biggest-selling authors of all time.