Biography of the Literary James Bond
At 17 Bond finished school and began study at the University of Geneva; this was interrupted when he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1941. By the end of the war he had achieved the rank of Commander and his service record soon drew the attention of M (Miles), the director of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). It was at this stage that Bond became `associated with certain aspects of the Ministry's work'. After his second assassination, Bond was awarded a double-0 number, indicating a licence to kill, and it is from this point that a number of his missions have been documented. In 1954 Bond was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG). He was later offered a knighthood for his services to MI6 but refused for the sake of professional anonymity.
At the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Bond married Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo (Tracy), daughter of Marc-Ange Draco; she was killed shortly after the wedding by Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Bond's longstanding enemy. Nonetheless Bond is known to have at least one (illegitimate) child, through the Japanese agent Kissy Suzuki whom he met in You Only Live Twice.
At six feet and 165 pounds, Bond is slim, almost wiry (body mass index = 22.4). He has blue-grey eyes, a rather cruel mouth, a long vertical scar on his left cheek and short, dark hair which falls to his forehead in a wandering comma. On the back of his hand is a scar in the shape of the Russian character и, carved by a SMERSH agent in Casino Royale. His dress is simple but elegant: single-breasted blue serge or houndstooth check suits (probably from a tailor just off the Row; certainly not Italian) with a white shirt and and slip-on shoes. His tie is black knit silk, evidently tied in a four-in-hand or half-Windsor (Bond thought the Windsor knot was 'the mark of a cad'. Alas, his bow tie is black satin rather than barathea.
Bond is an able amateur sportsman, particularly at skiing, golf and hand-to-hand combat, the last being the subject of his book-in-progress, Stand Firm. He rode the Cresta Run from Top. He has few possessions but they are fine: a wide, flat gun-metal cigarette case; a black oxidized Ronson lighter; and a Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch. Contrary to the films, Bond prefers Bentleys; in order, he drives a 1930 (or 1933) Mark IV convertible, a 1953 Mark VI and a Mark II Continental, all of them grey with navy or black interior. He occasionally dines at the London club Blades (modelled after Boodle's).
Bond dislikes tea but frequently drinks coffee, brewed in an American Chemex. His taste in food is refined if unadventurous, with a preference for traditional English fare. His favourite meal is breakfast, for which we are given his recipe in the short story `007 in New York':
He would have one more dry martini at the table, then smoked salmon and the particular scrambled eggs he had once (Felix Leiter knew the head-waiter) instructed them how to make:
For four individualists:
12 fresh eggs Salt and pepper 5--6 oz. of fresh butter.
Break the eggs into a bowl. Beat thoroughly with a fork and season well. In a small copper (or heavy bottomed saucepan) melt four oz. of the butter. When melted, pour in the eggs and cook over a very low heat, whisking continuously with a small egg whisk. While the eggs are slightly more moist than you would wish for eating, remove the pan from heat, add rest of butter and continue whisking for half a minute, adding the while finely chopped chives or fines herbes. Serve on hot buttered toast in individual copper dishes (for appearance only) with pink champagne (Taittinger) and low music.
Bond smokes approximately 60 cigarettes a day, usually a mix of Turkish and Balkan tobaccos, with three gold bands on the filter, indicative of his naval rank. He is a heavy drinker. Despite his cinematic preference for vodka martinis, Fleming's Bond prefers whisky. Throughout the books his most common drinks are 25% whisky or bourbon, 11% sake, 10% champagne and 6% vodka martini. Bond's secretary, Mary Goodnight, suggested for Bond this simple if simplistic epitaph: 'I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.'
Books and Films
|Live and Let Die||1954|
|Diamonds are Forever||1956|
|From Russia with Love||1957|
|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 and The Living Daylights||1966|
|For Your Eyes Only||1960|
The Bond series was extended by Kingsley Amis, who wrote Colonel Sun in 1968 under the pseudonym Robert Markham. Between 1981 and 1996 John Gardner wrote 14 novels and two film novelizations. He was followed by Raymond Benson, who wrote six novels and three novelizations between 1997 and 2002. Of the many nonfiction books on Bond, three can be considered classics:
|The James Bond Dossier||Kingsley Amis||1965|
|James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007||John Pearson||1973|
|The James Bond Bedside Companion||Raymond Benson||1984|
There are 21 official Bond films, with the 21st, Casino Royale, released in November 2006. Bond has been played by six actors, though Fleming saw only Sean Connery. According to Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, we know that Bond resembled singer Hoagy Carmichael, and on this basis Timothy Dalton looks most like the spy. The other actors are George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
|Dr. No||Sean Connery||1962|
|From Russia with Love||Sean Connery||1963|
|You Only Live Twice||Sean Connery||1967|
|On Her Majesty's Secret Service||George Lazenby||1969|
|Diamonds Are Forever||Sean Connery||1971|
|Live and Let Die||Roger Moore||1973|
|The Man with the Golden Gun||Roger Moore||1974|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||Roger Moore||1977|
|For Your Eyes Only||Roger Moore||1981|
|A View to a Kill||Roger Moore||1985|
|The Living Daylights||Timothy Dalton||1987|
|Licence to Kill||Timothy Dalton||1989|
|Tomorrow Never Dies||Pierce Brosnan||1997|
|The World Is Not Enough||Pierce Brosnan||1999|
|Die Another Day||Pierce Brosnan||2002|
|Casino Royale||Daniel Craig||2006|