Welcome to my April A-Z! This month I will be posting about James Bond 007 every day except Sunday, mostly focusing on the movies, not the books. Enjoy!
Today’s post is in honor of the British writer Ian Fleming, who created the James Bond 007 character and wrote the original Bond novels. Ian was born on May 28, 1908 in Mayfair, London and died on August 12, 1964 in Canterbury, Kent on his son Caspar’s 12th birthday ~ Caspar committed suicide at age 23. Ian was only 56 years old at his death, but he had been a heavy smoker and drinker all his life and suffered from heart disease.
Like many writers, Fleming had a complicated background. He came from a wealthy family, but he didn’t do well at school, where he was bullied and had physical problems. He also hated the food. He began Eton College in 1921 and excelled at athletics; he also edited a school magazine. But he still had problems with authority and ended up leaving early. Ian next went to the Royal Military College where he dropped out after catching gonorrhea. Next, his mother sent him to schools in Austria and Switzerland. In Geneva, Fleming began a relationship and became engaged, but he broke it off when his mother disapproved. He then failed the exams to enter the Foreign Office, but mommy got him a job as a sub-editor and journalist with Reuters. Finally, he went into banking due to family pressure.
Ian had a long relationship with Ann O’Neill (née Charteris), who was married to a baron and had numerous affairs. After divorcing the baron, Ann married a viscount, while still carrying on with Fleming. Eventually, the viscount caught onto their shenanigans and divorced her, at which point Ian and Ann finally tied the knot themselves and had a son. But they both still constantly cheated on each other.
Ian worked for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during WWII, where he picked up many of his ideas for his 007 books with their complex plots and layers of bad guys. He wrote his first Bond novel Casino Royale in 1952 and it was a success. He quickly followed up with eleven more Bond novels and two short story collections. The Bond books are ranked among the best-selling fictional series and have sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang as well as non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked him as 14th on their list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945.
Two of Fleming’s 007 books were published posthumously, and there have been more since, written “in the style of.” The originals are the best, imo. The films don’t necessarily follow the novels closely except for the basic character of James Bond. You don’t mess with 007!
Tune in Monday for more A-Z Bond!
PS: Sorry about all the errors in this post ~ I am grateful for my careful readers and appreciate any catches.
Information and images from Wikipedia and Pinterest.
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