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Ian Fleming
The Man Behind Agent '007

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Ian Fleming | Photo: FacebookIan Fleming | Photo: Facebook

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

It isn’t unusual for visitors to become so enchanted by our country that they just decide to stay. Ian Fleming is one famous face that made Jamaica his home.

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Some persons become so enamoured with Jamaica, that they make the decision to move here, just look at personal friends of My-Island-Jamaica Cheri and Maura. These two ladies join the many who visit Jamaica and simply can’t get enough of our gem of an island.

Ian Fleming was no different, making what we now know as GoldenEye resort in St. Mary his home. This was also the birthplace of the James Bond character which I think you might be a little familiar with.

Ian Fleming, though known as a writer, was a British Naval Intelligence officer during WWII, and before then, a journalist. His love affair with Jamaica actually began towards the end of the war in 1944, when work led him to Jamaica.

He stayed in the Blue Mountains with a friend who had already been enchanted by the island. The friend, Ivar thought Ian hadn’t enjoyed the trip seeing it was in one of the wettest months of the year, November. He was rather surprised when Fleming shared his decision to have a winter home on the island.

Though he wouldn’t make good on this statement until 1947 when he bought the old racecourse where he would build his 5-bedroom custom-made home.

It is said that he had already had his heart set on writing Spy novels before his time in the war ended. But it was at his home, in Jamaica where he penned his novels the first of which was done, in his words, to distract him from the upcoming nuptials between him and a long-time partner Ann.

Though their romance was a long one it wasn’t without its hiccups, a major one being that Ann had been married. Known as Lady O'Neill before her first husband passed, she then remarried and became Viscountess Rothermere.

When she fell pregnant with the son she would share with Ian Fleming, she and Vicount Rothermere divorced and a pregnant Ann and Ian married at the Port Maria Parish Church, Jamaica.

The home-turned luxury vacation accommodations are available for rent if you are a history buff, James Bond enthusiast or just someone searching for a secluded, relaxing vacation on the island.

Fleming who seemed to have lived many lives in his short 50+ years combined his knowledge and experience from both his time as a journalist and his secret agent naval experience into creating the prolific agent 007.

The first book, "Casino Royale" was released in 1953 starring no other than “Bond, James Bond”, the quick-witted playboy secret agent. The name James Bond was stolen from a much more demure American man who wrote a book on Jamaican birds that Ian Fleming happened upon.

Though Casino Royale was not very focused on Jamaica, the author really leaned into the island and some of our greatest attractions in subsequent instalments to the series.

Though not always mentioned by their actual names, the fictitious islands, places and countries were often modelled from local favourite spots for Fleming. And the island was used as the main filming site for 3 of the James Bond movies.

Even before Casino Royale had been published, "Live and Let Die" had been completed, although it was not released until 1954 with even more success than the first instalment of the spy series.

This was followed by:

  • Moonraker (1955)
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
  • From Russia With Love (1957)
  • Dr No (1958)
  • Goldfinger (1959)
  • For Your Eyes Only (1960)
  • Thunderball (1961)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1962)
  • You Only Live Twice (1964)
  • The Man With the Golden Gun (1964)

He also wrote other books, including a children’s book for his son Casper, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1962), which was released posthumously, Thrilling Cities (1963) and The Diamond Smugglers (1957).

Movie Adaptations

Ian Fleming lived to see the movie adaptation of his book "Dr No", starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress which was shot in Jamaica and released in 1962, to box office success.

From "Russia With Love" was also released in a similar fashion. Ian Fleming was able to give creative input on the Goldfinger movie adaptation but he, unfortunately, passed before it was released.

After years of gradually failing health, Ian Flemings's short life ended on the 12th of August, 1964, the morning of his son Casper’s 12th birthday. He was 56.


His son Casper died in 1975 at the age of 22. The home in St. Mary is said to have changed hands to Bob Marley who had plans to live in Oracabessa. Eventually, it changed hands to Chris Blackwell who still owns the property today.

The James Bond novels having some connection to the island has been a significant draw for James Bond enthusiasts all over the world. They often visit the attractions featured in the books and movies on their quest to trek the path of James Bond, but in that, we shouldn’t forget the author behind 007, Ian Fleming.

The Ian Fleming International Airport in Jamaica was named in honour of the famous author.

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References & Sources For Ian Fleming

  1. Ian Fleming's Son Dies - The New York Times,
  2. Special Assignment: Ian Fleming's Jamaica | Caribbean Beat Magazine,
  3. Follow Ian Fleming's Footsteps Through Jamaica | Travel| Smithsonian Magazine,
  4. The luxurious appeal of the spy fantasy,
  5. Ian Fleming | Biography, Novels, & Facts | Britannica,

Ian Fleming | Written: August 22nd, 2022

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