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IAN FLEMING

300px-Ian_Fleming,_headshot

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Full Name:

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Location: CA, United States of America

Born: 28 May 1908

27 Green Street in the wealthy London district of Mayfair

London, England

27 Green Street in the wealthy London district of MayfairDied: 12 August 1964

Fleming died at age 56 in the early morning of 12 August 1964

CONTACT DETAILS
Web Site: Ian Fleming Official website of Ian Fleming & Ian Fleming Publications Limited.

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was an English author, journalist and naval intelligence officer, best known for his James Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, Sandhurst and, briefly, the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through several jobs before he started writing.

While working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the James Bond novels.

Fleming wrote his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, in 1952. It was a success, with three print runs being commissioned to cope with the demand. Eleven Bond novels and two short-story collections followed between 1953 and 1966. The novels revolved around James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond was also known by his code number, 007, and was a commander in the Royal Naval Reserve. The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming 14th on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.

Fleming was married to Ann Charteris, who was divorced from the second Viscount Rothermere owing to her affair with the author. Fleming and Charteris had a son, Caspar. Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker for most of his life and succumbed to heart disease in 1964 aged 56. Two of his James Bond books were published posthumously; other writers have since produced Bond novels. Fleming’s creation has appeared in film twenty-five times, portrayed by seven actors.

Ian Fleming was born on 28 May 1908, at 27 Green Street in the wealthy London district of Mayfair. His mother was Evelyn St Croix Rose, and his father was Valentine Fleming, the Member of Parliament for Henley from 1910.Fleming was the grandson of the Scottish financier Robert Fleming, who founded the Scottish American Investment Trust and the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co. In 1914, with the start of the First World War, Valentine joined “C” Squadron, Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, and rose to the rank of major. He was killed by German shelling on the Western Front on 20 May 1917; Winston Churchill wrote an obituary that appeared in The Times. Because the family owned an estate at Arnisdale, Valentine’s death was commemorated on the Glenelg War Memorial.

Fleming’s elder brother Peter (1907–1971) became a travel writer and married actress Celia Johnson. Peter served with the Grenadier Guards during the Second World War, was later commissioned under Colin Gubbins to help establish the Auxiliary Units, and became involved in behind-the-lines operations in Norway and Greece during the war. Fleming also had two younger brothers, Michael (1913–1940) and Richard (1911–1977), and a younger maternal half-sister born out of wedlock, cellist Amaryllis Fleming (1925–1999), whose father was the artist Augustus John.[8] Amaryllis was conceived during a long-term affair between John and Evelyn that started in 1923, some six years after the death of Valentine.

Post-war

Upon Fleming’s demobilisation in May 1945, he became the Foreign Manager in the Kemsley newspaper group, which at the time owned The Sunday Times. In this role he oversaw the paper’s worldwide network of correspondents. His contract allowed him to take three months holiday every winter, which he took in Jamaica. Fleming worked full-time for the paper until December 1959, but continued to write articles and attend the Tuesday weekly meetings until at least 1961.

After Ann Charteris’ first husband died in the war, she expected to marry Fleming, but he decided to remain a bachelor. On 28 June 1945, she married the second Viscount Rothermere. Nevertheless, Charteris continued her affair with Fleming, travelling to Jamaica to see him under the pretext of visiting his friend and neighbour Noël Coward. In 1948 she gave birth to Fleming’s daughter, Mary, who was stillborn. Rothermere divorced Charteris in 1951 because of her relationship with Fleming, and the couple married on 24 March 1952 in Jamaica, a few months before their son Caspar was born in August. Both Fleming and Ann had affairs during their marriage, she, most notably, with Hugh Gaitskell, the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. Fleming had a long-term affair in Jamaica with one of his neighbours, Blanche Blackwell, mother of Chris Blackwell of Island Records.

Ian Fleming

Fleming had first mentioned to friends during the war that he wanted to write a spy novel, an ambition he achieved within two months with Casino Royale. He started writing the book at Goldeneye on 17 February 1952, gaining inspiration from his own experiences and imagination. He claimed afterwards that he wrote the novel to distract himself from his forthcoming wedding to the pregnant Charteris, and called the work his “dreadful oafish opus”.[68] His manuscript was typed in London by Joan Howe, (mother of travel writer Rory MacLean) and Fleming’s red-haired secretary at The Times on whom the character Miss Moneypenny was partially based. Clare Blanchard, a former girlfriend, advised him not to publish the book, or at least to do so under a pseudonym.

During Casino Royale’s final draft stages, Fleming allowed his friend William Plomer to see a copy, and remarked “so far as I can see the element of suspense is completely absent”. Despite this, Plomer thought the book had sufficient promise and sent a copy to the publishing house Jonathan Cape. At first, they were unenthusiastic about the novel, but Fleming’s brother Peter, whose books they managed, persuaded the company to publish it. On 13 April 1953 Casino Royale was released in the UK in hardcover, priced at 10s 6d, with a cover designed by Fleming. It was a success and three print runs were needed to cope with the demand.

The novel centres on the exploits of James Bond, an officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6. Bond was also known by his code number, 007, and was a commander in the Royal Naval Reserve. Fleming took the name for his character from that of the American ornithologist James Bond, an expert on Caribbean birds and author of the definitive field guide Birds of the West Indies. Fleming, himself a keen birdwatcher, had a copy of Bond’s guide, and later told the ornithologist’s wife, “that this brief, unromantic, Anglo-Saxon and yet very masculine name was just what I needed, and so a second James Bond was born”. In a 1962 interview in The New Yorker, he further explained: “When I wrote the first one in 1953, I wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened; I wanted him to be a blunt instrument … when I was casting around for a name for my protagonist I thought by God, James Bond is the dullest name I ever heard.”

Fleming based his creation on individuals he met during his time in the Naval Intelligence Division, and admitted that Bond “was a compound of all the secret agents and commando types I met during the war”.

Death

Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker throughout his adult life, and suffered from heart disease. In 1961, aged 53, he suffered a heart attack and struggled to recuperate On 11 August 1964, while staying at a hotel in Canterbury, Fleming went to the Royal St George’s Golf Club for lunch and later dined at his hotel with friends. The day had been tiring for him, and he collapsed with another heart attack shortly after the meal. Fleming died at age 56 in the early morning of 12 August 1964—his son Caspar’s twelfth birthday. His last recorded words were an apology to the ambulance drivers for having inconvenienced them,[130] saying “I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don’t know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days.” Fleming was buried in the churchyard of Sevenhampton village, near Swindon.

Fleming’s last two books, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy and The Living Daylights, were published posthumously. The Man with the Golden Gun was published eight months after Fleming’s death and had not been through the full editing process by Fleming. As a result, the novel was thought by publishing company Jonathan Cape to be thin and “feeble”. The publishers had passed the manuscript to Kingsley Amis to read on holiday, although they did not use his suggestions. Fleming’s biographer Henry Chandler observes that the novel “received polite and rather sad reviews, recognising that the book had effectively been left half-finished, and as such did not represent Fleming at the top of his game”. The final Bond book, containing two short stories, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, was published in Britain on 23 June 1966.

In October 1975, Fleming’s son Caspar, aged 23, committed suicide by drug overdose and was buried with his father. Fleming’s widow, Ann, died in 1981 and was buried with her husband and their son.

Works

See also: List of James Bond novels and short stories

Casino Royale (1953)[e]
Live and Let Die (1954)
Moonraker (1955)[f]
Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
From Russia, with Love (1957)
The Diamond Smugglers (1957)[206]
Dr. No (1958)
Goldfinger (1959)
For Your Eyes Only (1960)[g]
Thunderball (1961)[h]
The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)[i]
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
Thrilling Cities (1963)[209]
You Only Live Twice (1964)
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (1964)[210]
The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)[j]
Octopussy and The Living Daylights (1966)[k]

Biographical films
Goldeneye: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, 1989. A television film starring Charles Dance as Fleming. The film focuses on Fleming’s life during the Second World War, his love life and the writing of James Bond.
Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming, 1990. A television film starring Jason Connery (son of Sean) as Fleming.
Ian Fleming: Bondmaker, 2005. A television drama-documentary, first broadcast on BBC in on 28 August 2005. Ben Daniels portrayed Fleming.
Ian Fleming: Where Bond Began, 2008. Television documentary about the life of Ian Fleming, broadcast 19 October 2008 by the BBC. Presented by former Bond girl, Joanna Lumley.
The film Age of Heroes is based on the exploits of 30 Commando; James D’Arcy played Fleming.
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, a BBC America television four-episode mini-series, broadcast in January and February 2014, starring Dominic Cooper in the title role.

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