Ian Lancaster Fleming was born in Mayfair, London on 28th May 1908, the second of four brothers. He was schooled at Eton College and continued his education in Europe, studying languages in Kitzbuhel, Munich and Geneva.
In the 1930's Fleming worked as both a merchant banker and a stockbroker, but it was at journalism (initially reporting for Reuters, then freelance) that he excelled, notably enjoying a minor scoop at a Moscow 'show' trial, passing information to the Foreign Office as a result. During World War II, with the rank of Commander, he worked throughout as assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty in London, privy to many secrets. It was his experience in this role, and his earlier escapades in Russia that were to inspire many of the plots and characters that would appear within his later novels. After the war Fleming became foreign manager, in charge of foreign correspondents, for Kemsley News Group, whose flagship newspaper was the Sunday Times. It was here that he dabbled in travel journalism and began writing instructional articles for his network of 'Mercury [news] Service' agents. In the late '40s he bought a property in Jamaica, where he would retire to each Winter; In early 1952 he settled down to write a novel, producing Casino Royale, the first adventure of James Bond, in a two month period. The book was published in Easter 1953, and the same successful routine was followed, every year, for the rest of his life. In total fourteen Bond books were written and the author lived to witness their enormous success in print and on-screen through the hugely popular film series (Fleming visited the studio and locations for the first two movies, Dr No (1962) and From Russia, With Love (1963).
Fleming married Anne Rothermere in 1952 and in August that year his only son, Caspar, was born. While convalescing from his first heart attack in 1962, he wrote a short story about a flying car for Caspar - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ian Fleming died from further heart complications, aged 56, on 12th August 1964 at Sandwich in Kent; fittingly, he spent his final days on a golfing weekend, which was a major passion of his. His books and chracters continue to be filmed, and the literary James Bond has also appeared in numerous official 'continuation' episodes, written by a variety of different authors to both critical and commercial acclaim. His literary estate is looked after by Ian Fleming Publications.
Ian Fleming Bibliography:
The Adventures of James Bond;
Casino Royale (1953)
Live & Let Die (1954)
Diamonds are Forever (1956)
From Russia, With Love (1957)
Doctor No (1958)
For Your Eyes Only (1960, a short story collection comprising For Your Eyes Only, From a View to a Kill, Risico, Quantum of Solace and The Hildebrand Rarity)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1964)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)
Octopussy & The Living Daylights (1966, a short story collection)
The stories The Property of a Lady and 007 In New York did not appear together in a UK book-form collection until Quantum of Solace (2008), which gathers all nine original James Bond short stories)
Other Ian Fleming titles;
The Diamond Smugglers [documentary] (1957)
Thrilling Cities [travel] (1963)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang [childrens adventures] (1964-5)