IAN FLEMING (May 28, 1908 - August 12, 1964)
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. He also wrote several non-fiction books and the well-known children's story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Before becoming a famous author, Fleming worked as a journalist and stockbroker up until the outbreak of World War II. During the war he served 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.
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 Fleming 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. He was also given the responsibility to travel around the world to coordinate intelligence efforts for the British Pacific Fleet. On one of his intelligence missions he visited Jamaica, a place he came to love and later built a home there.
Many of the James Bond books by Fleming were actually written at his house on the north coast of Jamaica. The British Prime Minister Anthony Eden even spent some time at Fleming's 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, destroys the villain and of course, gets the girl. As it turns out, Fleming's wife, Ann Fleming, at one time actually labeled her husbands books as "pornography."
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 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, 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.