1908 - 1964
Ian Fleming, the author who created the fictional British secret agent James Bond, died August 12, 1964 in St. Georgeís, England. He was 56.
Fleming was born May 28, 1908 in London. The son of an aristocratic family, he grew up amidst the trappings of wealth and privilege. He also could not seem to establish his own identity, constantly being compared to his famous father who had been a Member of Parliament, and his brother, Peter, who distinguished himself academically.
Fleming attended Eton but left after a problem involving a girl. He also was unsuccessful at Sandhurst military academy. He soon found himself in Europe in the Austrian town of Kitzbuhel where he seemed to develop a purpose and an identity separate from his famous family.
He joined the Reuters news agency as a journalist, reporting on world events, but soon found himself being compared to his brother Peter who also had become a writer. Fleming changed careers and became a banker in London.
Fleming liked a lavish lifestyle, and his banking job gave him modest success to indulge in more aristocratic activities.
But war was coming, and in 1939 he joined the British army as a naval intelligence officer. He took a job with Admiral John Godfrey, one of Britainís top spies. He helped plan missions against the Germans, work which was fodder for his future in writing spy novels.
Fleming was 44 yeas old before he wrote his first novel, Casino Royale, in 1952. His family connections afforded him the right contacts in literary circles. And his books, which featured the famous 007 agent James Bond, were received very well by the public.
For the next 12 years, Fleming turned out several Bond books. But it wasnít until shortly before his death, that Hollywood decided to adapt his books to film. With newcomer Sean Connery cast as 007, the first of the Bond films, Dr. No, premiered in 1962. It was a popular success. Goldfinger was released in 1964, and Bond movies continue to be made into the 21st century. Five actors had portrayed Bond by the year 2001.
But Fleming did not live to see much of the Hollywood success. Years of hard living had taken its toll. He died of heart failure on August 12, 1964 in St. Georgeís.