Who Was the Real James Bond?
James Bond is one of the most famous book and movie franchises since their launch, a few decades ago.
So, I think I don't need to ask whether you've heard of 007 or not.
James Bond and the main characters of the series have been played by some of the most famous and talented actors. However, there still is a lot of dispute over the real inspiration behind Ian Fleming's iconic action hero.
James Bond is a spy licensed to kill, with an intense liking for lots of women, adrenaline, alcohol - especially gin martinis - and gambling.
There has been a real James Bond, but he was never anything close to fictitious James Bond's persona. The original James Bond was an ornithologist - or birdwatcher, as you may recall from the reference in the "Die Another Day" movie (2002) of the franchise, Pierce Brosnan's last Bond movie. So, the original Bond had nothing to do with espionage and action.
Fleming, on the other hand, as a member of the British Naval Intelligence Division was quite experienced in the life of a spy. Well, his job was office work, but he still had first-hand access to a lot of information and people.
One of the most famous theories on the inspiration behind James Bond is that Fleming drew his inspiration from his personal life and experiences. He appears to have had the same interests as his fiction character and quite a few common experiences with him as well.
James Bond, like Ian Flemming, lost his father at quite a young age. He went to Eton, like Ian Fleming as well. They appear to be of the same - or at least similar - appearance: black hair and blue eyes. Even their characters tend to have significant similarities - with the difference that physical action was not part of Fleming's worklife.
As James Bond has been under numerous escapades and missions during the stories of the 13 novels and 25 movies of the series, there appear to be quite a few real-life spies whose adventures and missions tend to match James Bond's stories.
They all have one thing in common. They were legendary British spies during World War II - and with quite unusual names too: Conrad O'Brien-ffrench, Patrick Danzel-Job, Bill "Biffy" Dunderdale, Peter Fleming - Ian's brother and Forest "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas, known as the "White Rabbit".
According to Sophie Jackson, former editor of History Magazine, Ian Fleming showed particular interest in the White Rabbit's missions and a number of James Bond's adventures match White Rabbit's adventures while in Nazi-occupied France. For example, Yeo-Thomas appears to have been tortured by Gestapo the same way Daniel Craig's James Bond was tortured in "Casino Royale" (2006). He moreover appears to have had the same attitude as Bond on women and spying.
So, there are quite a few candidates for the position of the "original James Bond persona".
To be honest, I personally came to a conclusion while studying on the resources.
James Bond is not a hero inspired by one man and only, but a combination of quite a few inspirations. According to the information and descriptions on Ian Fleming, he probably used his own character and life as the main inspiration for James Bond. As a member of the British Naval Intelligence Division, he had access to information on spies and their missions. He knew some of them personally as well. So, he filled the gap of the lack of physical action in his worklife with the descriptions on the missions and adventures of the various British spies.
Of course, this might be just me; my conclusion on the various information on Ian Fleming and the James Bond stories. After all, inspiration isn't an one-direction-only stream. A single painting you might accidentally cast a look at might inspire a whole scene - it has actually happened to me!
As a whole, Ian Fleming's inspiration was a mixture of his personal experience and attitude, the stories he knew about spies and maybe his personal demons - actual or not.