Ian Fleming

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ian Fleming (bronze bust by the sculptor Anthony Smith)

Ian Lancaster Fleming (born May 28, 1908 in London , † August 12, 1964 in Canterbury , England ) was a British writer . He gained fame above all with the novel and film character James Bond, which he invented, and his children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .



Ian Fleming grew up in the London borough of Mayfair . His father was the Conservative MP Valentine Fleming , who died in World War I , and his grandfather was the Scottish banker Robert Fleming . His older brother was the future travel writer Peter Fleming . He was a student at Eton College , where he learned French , Russian and German and was able to win two athletic awards, but later had to leave school because of an incident with a girl. His attendance at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy was also mediocre, and he left the academy because of a similar incident.

Urged by his mother, Fleming left England in 1927 and moved into his new apartment in Kitzbühel , Austria . He lived in the former farmhouse and today's luxury hotel Tennerhof. There he attended a private school, which was run by the former employee of the British secret service Ernan Forbes Dennis and his wife, the writer Phyllis Bottome . Both were students and employees of the Viennese individual psychologist Alfred Adler . Fleming was able to develop freely according to his ideas, studied languages ​​and psychology at various European universities and wrote his first short stories and poems, without, however, at this point having any intention of becoming a writer. Rather, he did everything in his power to get a job in the State Department , but failed and therefore worked as a journalist for Reuters for four years before the Second World War . His greatest success as a journalist was a report on an espionage trial in Russia. Since the job as a journalist didn't leave much money to live on, Fleming advanced to become a securities dealer at the London banks Cull & Co. and Rowe & Pitman . He later accepted a post as a correspondent with the Times , where he was employed until 1933. This task took him to the Soviet Union , where he was supposed to report on a trade trip - but in truth he was spying for the Foreign Ministry.


In 1939 Fleming joined the Navy Intelligence Service and quickly worked his way up to lieutenant and personal assistant to Director John Godfrey. From 1941 he was assigned as a liaison officer to US naval intelligence, and from late 1943 he commanded a specially trained unit of the Royal Marines , the No. 30 Commando, for which he planned and carried out some dangerous commands, but where he was not directly involved. In 1940, Fleming was responsible, among other things, for protecting Gibraltar and southern Spain from radar surveillance by the Germans. This order was code-named Operation Goldeneye . Feeling inspired by the possibilities of war espionage, he sent William Donovan notes explaining how the OSS could be set up. Donovan was so taken with it that he presented Fleming with a .38 Special Colt Official Police marked "For Special Services".

In the 1940s he was also a liaison officer in Estoril and also visited the Casino Estoril , which was then the largest casino in Europe. He is said to have drawn the inspiration for the novel Casino Royale from the Chemin de fer . He moved the novel with the Chemin-de-fer Casino to the French Atlantic coast; the 2006 film Casino Royale was set in Montenegro and moved the card game to poker .

In the final years of the war, Fleming officially spent some time in Jamaica as part of a military conference and was impressed by the lush landscape there. He bought a beachfront property, designed a house, and named it Goldeneye . Here he worked on plans to kidnap Martin Bormann , from now on spent the cold winter months there, wrote his stories and novels and entered into love affairs, including with the married Anne Rothermere, whom he married in 1952. In the same year they had their son Casper. The common tendency to spanking is considered to be the unifying factor in the complicated relationship with Anne . Simon Winder , author and editor of a reprint of Bond novels, directly and straightforwardly called Fleming a sado masochist . The tendency is also reflected in the novels, which almost always contain a torture scene with Bond as a victim, which is mostly cut in the films. John Lanchester assumes that the contrast between the real, difficult and demanding love between Fleming and his wife on the one hand and the ostensible and stereotypical sex and violence scenes in the novels must have had a shameful effect on Anne, and that this resulted in her clear rejection of Bond- Figure explained.

Newspaper publisher and author

Fleming went to the Sunday Times , not as a journalist, but in the commercial department of the publisher. After his wedding, he wrote his first spy novel Casino Royale on his honeymoon on February 17, 1952, with the later famous character of the agent James Bond . This was based on various secret service employees who Fleming had met, and on his brother Peter Fleming. He sold the rights to his first film for $ 6,000 to Hollywood actor and director Gregory Ratoff , who first brought James Bond onto American television on October 21, 1954. However, Casino Royale received little audience approval, and scripts for a planned series called James Bond, Secret Agent fell into oblivion. Undeterred, Fleming wrote three more novels before he published From Russia with Love in 1957 . John F. Kennedy later included this title in a list of his favorite books.

Fleming's original intention was to end his Bond franchise to move on to more serious work. But due to the figure's now enormous popularity, Fleming decided to write more stories about the secret agent. Bond was now becoming more and more of a public interest; the London newspaper Daily Express even published a short 007 comic strip in 1957.

Fleming was inspired by his report on diamond smuggling for the Sunday Times for his novel Diamonds Are Forever , also published in 1957. After Goldfinger and Thunderball also had great success, Fleming invested less in journalism and focused mainly on his novels. In 1958 and 1959 he was still working on a series of cities in the Sunday Times, which was later published as a book under the name Thrilling Cities .

In the meantime, film producer Harry Saltzman had acquired an option for almost all of Fleming's novels and short stories (exceptions at this point were Moonraker and Casino Royale ) and was now looking for funding for the first full-length James Bond film. It was not until the early 1960s that Albert R. Broccoli made the first Bond film, James Bond - 007 is chasing Dr. No start in theaters. Fleming received £ 100,000 for each title and a percentage of box office box office profits for the films produced.

In total, Fleming wrote twelve James Bond novels and nine James Bond short stories , which have been translated into 23 languages. The latter have already been published in Great Britain and the USA under sometimes different book titles, often individually in the translations or in other combinations. According to Fleming, 90% of the Bond novels are based on real events and personal experiences. Almost all of the novels found their way into the film scripts.

End of life

Ian Fleming's grave in Sevenhampton

In 1964 Fleming caught the flu , which eventually developed into pleurisy , and his general health deteriorated; His preferences for smoking, drinking, plenty of fatty food and traveling around the world caused the first signs of wear and tear. In August of the same year he had a heart attack during a meeting of the St. Georges Golf Committee and died soon after at Sandwich Bay, Kent .

Ian Fleming is buried in Sevenhampton Cemetery, a village northeast of Swindon in Wiltshire . His son Casper, who committed suicide in 1975, and his wife Anne († 1981) are buried next to him.

Fleming's life was revised with a UK-broadcast television biography Goldeneye , the mainly fictional film The Secret Life of Ian Fleming and the miniseries Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond .


  • As the birthday of James Bond's long-term opponent Ernst Stavro Blofeld , Fleming used his own, May 28, 1908 (“On Her Majesty's Secret Service”).
  • Flemings gilded Royal Quiet De-Luxe portable typewriter was in 1994 , Christie's auctioned for 56,000 pounds to an unknown collector.
  • For his James Bond novel, James Bond and the man with the Golden Gun ( The Man With The Golden Gun ), the American arms manufacturers handed Colt Defense Ian Fleming in 1964 a .357 Magnum Colt Python with the inscription "Presented To Ian Fleming By Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., ”which was auctioned at Bonhams on March 28, 2007 for £ 12,000 to an unknown collector.
  • From 1934 to 1945 Fleming lived in a former Baptist church at 33 Ebury Street, London, which he had acquired from the fascist politician Oswald Mosley . The antagonist from the 1955 James Bond novel Moonraker , Sir Hugo Drax, uses the same apartment as a conspiratorial refuge during the course of the plot.
  • The actor Christopher Lee was a cousin of Ian Fleming and played the role of Scaramanga in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun .
  • In 1953, Fleming took on the famous role of "Atticus", the Sunday Times ' senior columnist , who has been embodied by many writers and politicians.
  • Ian Fleming gave Bond director Terence Young , the basic idea for the film The Poppy Is Also a Flower ( The Poppy Is Also a Flower ) of the 1966th
  • In 2011, the Boscobel Aerodrome Airport in Jamaica was renamed Ian Fleming International Airport .
  • 2014 appeared with Fleming. The Man of Bond was a four-part miniseries about Ian Fleming. The German-language first broadcast was on Arte .


James Bond novels

James Bond short stories

  • For Your Eyes Only. 1960, five short stories (Ger. 007 James Bond intervenes. Five special cases . Bern and Munich 1965), in the original with "From a View to a Kill", "For your Eyes Only", "Risico", "Quantum of Solace" and "The Hildebrand Rarity".
  • Octopussy and the Living Daylights. 1966 posthumously 007 James Bond, Risky Businesses . Bern and Munich 1968; 8th edition 1983, ISBN 3-502-55914-7 ), originally published with two short stories ("Octopussy" and "The Living Daylights", later "The Property of a Lady" was added).
  • From a View to a Kill ( 007 James Bond, death in the rear-view mirror. Bern and Munich 1967; later under the title 007 James Bond, In the face of death. Last 1993 under ISBN 3-502-51457-7 ), was im Original already included in the short story collection "For Your Eyes Only".
  • 007 In New York , 1963, in Thrilling Cities. , the only James Bond story in this volume, (German 007 in New York in Die Großstädter , Septime Verlag, 2012; ISBN 978-3-902711-10-6 )

Children's books


  • The Diamond Smugglers (1957)
  • Thrilling Cities (1963), including the James Bond short story "007 in New York"

Unpublished books

  • The Black Daffodil (1921-1926)
  • The True Tale of Captain Kidd's Treasure (1921-1926)
  • Death, on Two Occasions (1927)
  • Mercury Reference Book (1945-1946)
  • State Of Excitement - Impressions of Kuwait (1960)


Web links

Commons : Ian Fleming  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Sophia Seiderer: Between Kings and Agents In: Die Welt . February 6, 2011.
  2. Christopher Creighton: Operation James Bond, The Last Great Secret of the Second World War. ISBN 978-0-684-81786-6 .
  3. John Lanchester: Bond in Torment . London Review of Books, September 5, 2002.
  4. [1]
  5. [2]
  6. Nicholas Rankin: Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of the Legendary 30 Assault Unit . Oxford University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-991202-5 , pp. 37 ( google.at [accessed on March 3, 2017]).
  7. Dietmar Grieser : You really lived. From Effi Briest to Mr Karl, from Tewje to James Bond. Almathea, Vienna and Munich 2001, p. 145.
  8. Jamaica names airport after 007 inventor Ian Fleming . In: Focus . January 13, 2011.
  9. Fleming. In: Fernsehserien.de. Retrieved August 2, 2020 .