Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908–64) was an English suspense-fiction novelist, journalist, and naval intelligence officer. He is best known for creating James Bond. The stylish, high-living British secret service agent 007 is one of the major male icons of the second half of the twentieth century.
Born in London to a wealthy family, Fleming’s father was a Member of Parliament. Ian Fleming was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, studied languages at Munich and Geneva universities, and then worked as a foreign correspondent with Reuters in Moscow 1929–33, and as a banker and stockbroker 1933–39. He was a senior naval intelligence officer during World War II, and then became the foreign manager of The Sunday Times 1945–59.
Fleming’s varied career gave him the background for twelve novels and seven short stories featuring Commander James Bond, the archetypical, suave British Secret Service agent 007, starting with Casino Royale (1953) and including From Russia with Love (1957,) Dr. No (1958,) Goldfinger (1959,) Thunderball (1961,) and The Man with the Golden Gun (1965.) They sold millions of copies worldwide, and have been turned into highly successful films. James Bond has been one of the most widely imitated heroes of 20th-century popular fiction.
In addition, Fleming wrote a children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1964,) which was made into a feature film and whose main character, Commander Pott, perhaps summarized best the Fleming-Bond philosophy of life: “Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.”
A selection of his correspondence regarding his Bond novels was collected as The Man with the Golden Typewriter (2015.)