Ian Lancaster Fleming was born on May 28, 1908 to Valentine and Evelyn Fleming of Mayfair, London. Valentine was a Member of Parliament and was killed in World War I. His obituary was written by Winston Churchill.

Ian Fleming attended Eton College and displayed more promise in athletics than in academics. Adults in his life did not approve of his womanizing or lack of concentration for important and mature pursuits. Occasionally, his influential mother had to intervene on his behalf to open some doors in business and the military.

One such opportunity was reporting for the Reuters News Agency. Fleming had an adventuresome spirit and he enthusiastically took to his assignment covering a trial of six British engineers accused of spying in Moscow. Fleming later dabbled in banking, a more respectable industry worthy of the family name.

As World War II loomed, Fleming was commissioned a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) after becoming Rear Admiral John H. Godfrey's personal assistant. Adm. Godfrey was head of Naval Intelligence and Lt. Fleming was soon promoted to the rank of Commander. Among his contributions to the war effort was conceiving special secret operations and organizing various special forces units. He took his responsibilities seriously and was recognized for his dedication to his duties.

After the war he returned to journalism and took a high-profile job at The Sunday Times. He was given three months’ vacation every year and spent that time at his home, Goldeneye, in Jamaica. It was here that he began writing a series of sensationalist novels centered on a British secret service agent. His journalistic skills for crisp, detailed expository writing combined with his flair for inventive escapades served his adventurous novels well. Fleming wanted a plain, "dull" name for his protagonist. He found what he was looking for in an unlikely place. Among his collection of books was Birds of the West Indies written by the ornithologist James Bond.

Fleming had always envisioned his high-concept stories to be ideal for adaptation in motion pictures, but the road to getting there was slow and frustrating. His first novel was adapted for an episode of Climax! on CBS in the United States, with the production taking many liberties with his story and characters. He would occasionally collaborate with various interested parties but nothing came of these pursuits.

Separately, two film producers believed the novels had potential for the big screen. Harry Saltzman had purchased an option for all of Fleming's available James Bond novels. When Albert R. Broccoli looked into optioning the books, he discovered Saltzman had it, but the date was running out. Rather than risk a bidding war with another producer for a new option, Broccoli and Saltzman decided to form a partnership and co-produce a series of films based on the books. It's impossible to say what dreams Fleming, Broccoli, or Saltzman may have had for the success of this venture, but no one could have predicted the incredible worldwide success for the films and characters that continues to this day.

Sadly, Mr. Fleming caught only a fleeting glimpse of that success with the release of the first two films. He succumbed to a heart attack on August 12, 1964 at the age of 56. He is buried in Sevenhampton, Wiltshire, England.



The James Bond Novels by Ian Fleming:

Casino Royale – 1953
Live and Let Die – 1954
Moonraker – 1955
Diamonds Are Forever – 1956
From Russia, With Love – 1957
Doctor No – 1958
Goldfinger – 1959
For Your Eyes Only – 1960
(A collection of five short stories: From A View To A Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Quantum Of Solace, Risico, and The Hildebrand Rarity)
Thunderball – 1961
The Spy Who Loved Me – 1962
On Her Majesty's Secret Service – 1963
You Only Live Twice – 1964
The Man With The Golden Gun – 1965
Octopussy and The Living Daylights – 1966
(Two short stories, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, then The Property of a Lady was were added to the paperback edition. Recently 007 in New York was added to modern paperback editions)

Other Ian Fleming books:

The Diamond Smugglers – 1957
Thrilling Cities (including 007 in New York) – 1963
Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang – 1964