Behind the Mask of 007 | Ian Fleming

The man, who created the secret agent 007 had some secrets of his own in his time. Author Ian Fleming was known for being a successful novelist, a heavy smoker and drinker and his unfaithful relationships.   

The film Spectre came out last October, bringing arena after arena to watch the action surrounding the best-known fictional spy: Bond, James Bond. Even in this most recent film, fifty years after his death, we can find Ian Fleming’s footprint. His works have brought an astonishing amount of films to the public. But who was the man behind James Bond? Was he in a way similar to the heroic woman-loving suave spy?

Although Fleming did have a keen interest in women, his life was not quite as similar to that of James Bond. Fleming enrolled at Eton College and continued to study in Geneva and Munich. The writer was a journalist for many years even when his books had already been published.

But Fleming wasn’t all about books and writing. Inspiration for the Bond books without a doubt comes from his time at Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division. He worked for his country during the Second World War and there gathered a lot of inspiration for the character James Bond and his dangerous missions.

During the 1950s Fleming started writing his books. One book quickly followed the other, from Casino Royale in 1953 to Live and Let Die the year after, steadily bringing out at least one James Bond novel each year. Fleming was a huge fan of Jamaica and went regularly to his holiday house there and eventually went to live there. Many of his books have been produced there.

Fleming’s life was in many ways tumultuous. His relationships and affairs were hardly based on monogamy. Fleming took a liking for one specific married woman as he had an affair with the married Ann O’Neill in 1939. After a divorce, Fleming and O’Neill (then once again Ann Charteris) married and Ann gave birth to Fleming’s son. The ring on their finger did not stop either of them from having affairs during their married life.

Though tumultuous his life has been, his works have been an incredible succes. He wrote a total of twelve James Bond novels. Unfortunately, Fleming has not been able to enjoy the great success of his novels for a long period of time. Ian Fleming died of a heart attack at the age of 56.

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