Ian Fleming, who created the fictional secret agent James Bond, drew some of the raw material for his novels from his experiences in Naval Intelligence during World War II.
The British author, who came from an affluent banking family, published his first Bond novel, “Casino Royale” in 1953, when the Cold War was in full swing.
But the book was not made into a film until 2006 — the first novel to be transformed into a movie was “Dr No”, which hit cinema screens on October 5, 1962, and was being celebrated as part of the festivities for 50 years of Bond films on Friday.
Many of the novels centred on East-West espionage themes, with the added spice of sex and high living which gave rise to the expression “Bond girls” to describe the legions of attractive young women who ended up in the secret agent’s bed.
Fleming (picture), who had worked as a journalist and also a banker and stockbroker before the war, was to write a total of 14 Bond books, two of them collections of short stories. The last novel was “The Man with the Golden Gun”, which appeared in 1965.
Other bestsellers were “From Russia with Love” (1957), “Dr. No” (1958), “Goldfinger” (1955) and “Thunderball” (1965).
In addition to the Bond books, Fleming also wrote “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang — The Magical Car” (1964), a children’s story which later became a highly successful film.
He did much of his writing on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, where he had a house built after the war.
The writer was a keen bird watcher, and one of the bird books he relied on was written by a certain James Bond. The name caught Fleming’s imagination, and a legend was born.
Fleming recounted that when he later actually met the ornithologist in question, he seemed not to be concerned about the extraordinary career his name had embarked on.
Fleming married Ann Charteris in 1952; the couple had a son, who was to commit suicide in 1975. The writer’s widow died in 1981.
Fleming, a lifelong smoker and drinker, was to die in 1964 of a heart attack at age 56, only two years after the release of the first Bond film, ‘Dr. No’.
Starring Sean Connery as Bond and Ursula Andress as the first of many temptresses with evil intentions, it brought the brand to the attention of a whole generation.
The James Bond film franchise has long run out of titles actually written by Fleming, and other writers have been called in to continue the tradition.
The most recent Bond novel, “Carte Blanche’, written by US author Jeffrey Deaver, came out in 2011 and another is being penned by the British novelist William Boyd, for release next year.