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Ian Fleming Poster

Biography

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Overview (4)

Date of Birth 28 May 1908Mayfair, London, England, UK
Date of Death 12 August 1964Canterbury, Kent, England, UK  (heart attack)
Birth NameIan Lancaster Fleming
Height 6' (1.83 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born into a wealthy and influential English family, Ian Fleming spent his early years attending top British schools such as Eton and Sandhurst military academy. He took to writing while schooling in Kitzbuhel, Austria, and upon failing the entrance requirements for Foreign Service joined the news agency Reuters as a journalist -- winning the respect of his peers for his coverage of a "show trial" in Russia of several Royal Engineers on espionage charges. Fleming briefly worked in the financial sector for the family bank, but just prior to the Second World War, was recruited into British Naval Intelligence where he excelled, shortly achieving the rank of Commander. When the war ended, Fleming retired to Jamaica where he built a house called "Goldeneye," took up writing full-time and created the character that would make him famous -- British Secret Service agent James Bond, in a novel called "Casino Royale." Fleming spent the rest of his life writing and traveling the world, but as his Bond character reached new heights of popularity on movie screens, Fleming was in ailing health. He died of a heart attack (his second) in England in August 1964 at the age of 56.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Alexander Lum <aj_lum@bigpond.com>

Spouse (1)

Anne Geraldine Charteris (24 March 1952 - 12 August 1964) (his death) (1 child)

Trade Mark (1)

Cigarette (in holder) perched between fingers of his right hand

Trivia (29)

Half-brother of cellist Amaryllis Fleming.
Featured in the novel "James Bond: The Unauthorized Biography of 007" by John Pearson. This novel, which is considered part of the Bond canon by some, suggests that Bond was real and that Fleming wrote stories based on Bond's real-life adventures as a strange way of hiding classified information "in plain sight."
Cousin of Christopher Lee.
He died on his son's birthday (12th of August 1964). Casper died of a drug overdose in Jamaica in 1974. Anne survived them both, and died in 1981. Her son by her first marriage, Raymond Arthur O'Neill, is now the 4th Baron O'Neill.
His wife, Anne Geraldine Charteris, was the granddaughter of the 9th Earl of Wemyss, and had been previously married to Shane O'Neill, 3rd Lord O'Neill (she was his widow) and then to Esmond Cecil Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere, whom she divorced to marry Ian. Anne and Ian had one son, Casper Robert Fleming, born 12th of August 1952.
The largest collection of Ian Fleming's novels is located at the Lilly Library, on the Indiana University campus, Bloomington, Indiana.
His James Bond novels and story elements were originally used in the films, beginning with Dr. No (1962). Until Casino Royale (2006), the last James Bond movie to use elements from Fleming's stories was Licence to Kill (1989).
His home in Jamaica was named "Goldeneye" and was the source of the name of the 1995 James Bond movie.
His elder brother Peter Fleming (a travel writer of some note in the 1930s) was married until his death to actress Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter (1945)). His nieces Kate Fleming (now Grimond) and Lucy Fleming (also an actress) are now his literary heirs.
Modelled the character of James Bond after Merlin Minshall, a man who worked for Mr. Fleming during WWII, as a spy.
He got the name "James Bond" from a real-life ornithologist from Philadelphia who was called James Bond. Fleming had a copy of Bond's book, "The Birds of the West Indies", and took a liking to that name.
Raymond Chandler was a fan of the James Bond novels and urged Fleming to continue writing them in the mid 1950s.
His nephew, Nichol Fleming, wrote an adventure story in the Bond style titled "Counter Paradise" in 1968.
Distantly related by marriage to author Leslie Charteris.
He initially objected to the casting of Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No (1962) because he felt that Connery was too "unrefined". He later changed his mind after seeing Connery's performance in the finished film.
Is portrayed by Jason Connery in The Secret Life of Ian Fleming (1990). Jason is the son of Sean Connery, who became famous for playing James Bond in the 1960s.
He suffered a coronary thrombosis in 1961, which he admitted was a result of smoking seventy cigarettes and drinking a bottle of gin a day.
Fleming's health had never been strong, and it was not helped by his lifestyle. At 38, complaining of chest pains, he had informed a startled doctor that he consumed 70 cigarettes and a bottle of gin a day. In 1961 he had a massive heart attack, which was followed by a series of increasingly debilitating illnesses, including a severe chest infection and pleurisy. Finally, on 11 August 1964 - the night before his son's 12th birthday - he collapsed. He died the next morning on his son's birthday, 12 August 1964.
Film stars who were an influence on his vision of James Bond included David Niven, Rex Harrison, Cary Grant, and Hoagy Carmichael.
He was a bird-watcher and he named "James Bond" after an ornithologist of the same name (See James Bond) whose book he had read. He borrowed the name because it was the "dullest" name he could think of. The book title "Goldeneye" is also a birding reference, as goldeneyes are a type of duck.
As a member of British Intelligence during WWII, he worked with the American OSS (Office of Strategic Services), the predecessor to the CIA. He contributed his experience and expertise to the OSS and later helped the Americans set up the CIA.
Fleming's Scrapbook was sold at a charity auction in December 1992 by his step-daughter, Fionn O'Neill. It was auctioned at Sotheby's in New Bond Street which was used as a location in the movie Octopussy (1983). Reportedly, it was acquired for £30,000 by Fleming's nieces Lucy, Kate and Nichol. Proceeds went to the London Library.
Writer Geoffrey Jenkins collaborated with him on a James Bond story between the years 1957 and 1964. Glidrose Publishers contracted Jenkins to develop the story into a full novel after Fleming died in 1964. The book was entitled "Per Fine Ounce" but it has never been available to readers and published.
Based the character of James Bond on real-life spy Sidney Reilly.
Fleming was a huge fan of Studebakers. One of his last cars was a Studebaker Avanti.
The reason he excelled at his studies was to please his mother, a beautiful but cold woman who never showed him any affection.
In 1995, the gold-plated "Royal" typewriter on which he hammered out many of his 007 novels, was auctioned by Christie's of London for £50,000 to a buyer who still remains anonymous. This is the most expensive typewriter to date.
According to the National Geographic (CNN and BBC too), he patterned James Bond after Dusko Popov, a Serbian double agent nicknamed Tricycle. Popov was a worthy predecessor to the fictional spy James Bond. He was noted as a womanizer and was dating many famous actresses (some of them were Hollywood stars). He also stayed at the best hotels, ate at top restaurants, visited smart casinos, and was a bon vivant. While Fleming worked in British naval intelligence during WWII, he was detailed to trail this charismatic spy who eventually became a double agent for the British (among other intelligence work he provided an information to the FBI that the Japanese were planning to attack Pearl Harbor).
Upon his death, his remains were interred at St. Andrew's Churchyard in Sevenhampton, Gloucestershire, England.

Personal Quotes (8)

I always make it a rule never to look back. Otherwise, I'd ask myself how I could write such piffle and live with myself, day after day." Reported last words, to the ambulance attendents: "Awfully sorry to trouble you chaps.
Displaying a remarkable lack of foresight, c. mid-1950s: "My James Bond novels are really for a very specialized, limited market. I am not counting the great unwashed public and do not expect them to fancy anything I write."
I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainest-sounding name I could find, James Bond was much better than something more interesting like 'Peregrine Maltravers.' Exotic things would happen to and around him but he would be a neutral figure - an anonymous blunt instrument wielded by a Government Department.
The target of my books lay somewhere between the solar plexus and the upper thigh. [From The Daily Express, 1962]
Men want a woman whom they can turn on and off like a light switch.
Writing about 2,000 words in three hours every morning, 'Casino Royale' dutifully produced itself. I wrote nothing and made no corrections until the book was finished. If I had looked back at what I had written the day before, I might have despaired.
[Of James Bond] Apart from the fact that he wears the same clothes that I wear, he and I really have little in common. I do rather envy him his blondes and his efficiency, but I can't say I much like the chap.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.

Salary (1)

Casino Royale (1967) $6,000 ($45,575 in 2011 dollars)

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