Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was an
English author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer, best known for his James
Bond series of spy novels. Fleming came from a wealthy family connected to the
merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co., and his father was the Member of
Parliament for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front during World
War I in 1917. Educated at Eton, the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and the
universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through a number of jobs
before he started writing.|
While working in British Naval Intelligence during World War II, Fleming was involved in the planning stages of Operation Mincemeat and Operation Golden Eye, the former of which was successfully carried out. He was also involved in the planning and oversight of two active service units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force. His wartime service and his career as a journalist provided much of the background, detail and depth of the twelve Bond novels.
The Bond stories rank among the best-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children's story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming fourteenth on its list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
He was married to Ann Charteris, who was divorced from the second Viscount Rothermere as a result of her affair with Fleming. Fleming and Charteris had a son, Caspar. Fleming was a heavy smoker and drinker who suffered from heart disease; he died in 1964, aged 56, from a heart attack. Two of his James Bond books were published posthumously, and a further five authors have since produced Bond novels. Fleming's creation has appeared in film twenty-four times, portrayed by seven actors.