Diamonds Are Forever, But So It Seems Is Mr. Bond, Unknown Facts About Our Favorite Spy

By Arvyn B

James Bond is easily one of the most famous literary characters of all time. His secret agent number, 007, has become iconic around the world. His smart look is the symbol of a sophisticated gentleman. Whenever a new Bond movie is released, it almost always flies to the top of the charts. In fact, the James Bond movie series is the 9th highest-grossing film series of all time. The famous films are based upon a series of books by British author Ian Fleming. The first book was released in 1952 and was followed by the first film precisely ten years later. Numerous actors have played the role of 007. These include Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. But, for such an iconic figure, there are a few facts about him that most people don’t know. Here are just a few of them that will make you even more starstruck.

Golden writing

For most of us, when we are going to write something, we will use a computer. Perhaps maybe even a tablet. Not for Ian Fleming, though. He used a Royal typewriter that was gold-plated to write the tales of 007.

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Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the character is a work of art. When Fleming bought the typewriter, he was unsure what type of paper he should use. He even joked about using diamond-studded paper for his work of art!

A cunning disguise

Goldfinger is perhaps the most famous entry in the James Bond franchise. There is a renowned plane scene called “Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus,” where a group of female pilots tries to spread the Delta-9 nerve gas across Fort Knox.

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In reality, this was not a group of women at all. It was actually five men who were wearing blonde wigs! Two of the beautiful female pilots were used just for publicity shots and never actually seen in the final film.

Doppelgänger Double

Another iconic Bond was English actor Roger Moore, who starred in hit films such as The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill. However, all of his running scenes in the Bond movies were made using body doubles!

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Moore thought he looked strange when he ran, so he requested a body double to do these scenes. He also had hoplophobia – the fear of firearms – and had some difficulties with so many guns on the Bond set.

A special luxury

For most of us, playing James Bond in a film would be enough of a prize on its own. Who wouldn’t want to play this smart and sophisticated Brit?! For the current Bond, Daniel Craig, there’s a special bonus involved.

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Aston Martin rewarded Daniel Craig with the privilege to have any car from their factories for the rest of his life. With a salary of $39 million per Bond film, we think he could probably afford to buy one himself.

Missing MI6

Today, the group “MI6” is a household name. This is mostly because they are the agency that James Bond works for in the movies and book series. But in reality, the British government didn’t confirm its existence until 1994.

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The 1994 Intelligence Services Act officially recognized MI6 as being real, along with GCHQ. If Bond were real, he would not have been an agent but an officer instead. Officers work for MI6, but agents are used for finding information.

Height matters

Most of us presume that Mr. Bond is a tall guy. We probably estimate him to be around 6 feet. In fact, all of the actors who have played him were approximately 6 feet 5 inches to 6 feet 2 inches.

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The only one not to match that height is the current Bond, Daniel Craig. He is only 5 feet 10 inches! Still, what he lacks in height, he makes up for in acting. We can’t imagine a more perfect Bond.

Professional Polyglot

If you did not know, a ‘polyglot’ is someone who can speak multiple languages. And James Bond is one of these clever individuals! Not only does he speak English natively, but he also has a degree in Oriental languages.

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He is also fluent in a number of different languages. These include German, Russian, Italian, and French. He can have conversations in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Greek, too. We guess it comes in handy when you’re traveling the world!

Personal Profile

There are a few facts about Mr. Bond’s life that most people do not know. For example, the character was born in Germany but was raised in England and Scotland. Bond sees himself as Scottish, not English since most of his memories are from there.

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It seems like Mr. Bond has been a secret agent his entire life, but he was really 38 years old when he took the role of 007. The motto of his family is the phrase “The world is not enough.”

Double-0 who?

Perhaps Mr. Bond’s most notable feature is his agent number – 007. This fact is because 002, 003, 004, and 009 were all killed on the job in different Bond movies. 008 is the lucky person who will be Bond’s replacement.

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This is in case Bond is ever killed or taken off a mission – though this will probably never happen. 006 is the villain in Goldeneye, but 001 and 005 have never been explained. Perhaps they will be in future films.

Bond’s Basis

Many historical figures helped writer Ian Fleming create the character of James Bond. One of the most notable examples was John Dee, an English mathematician from the 1500s. He was one of Queen Elizabeth’s advisors and the court astronomer.

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You might be wondering how someone from so long ago could have possibly inspired Fleming. The truth is, Dee signed all of his letters to Queen Elizabeth I with “007” to make it clear that they were meant for her only.

James Bald

Sean Connery was the first actor to play the role of James Bond in 1962, and he is easily one of Bond’s most recognizable faces. What’s important is that we said ‘faces’ – Connery wore a toupee in all the Bond films!

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Connery suffered from genetic baldness from a young age, which caused him a lot of worry for his future as an actor. That did not stop him from getting one of the most iconic roles in all of cinema history.

More inspiration

Yet another character that was based on a real person is “Vesper Lynd” from the book Casino Royale. Ian Fleming was inspired after meeting the real Polish-British World War 2 spy Krystyna Skarbek, who was also known as Christine Granville.

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Krystyna worked in Nazi-occupied France and Poland during World War 2. She was known for being a very courageous spy. Sadly, she died in 1952, just one year before the first Bond book was published, never seeing her later fame.

What’s in a name?

James Bond – the name is immediately recognizable. Have you ever wondered about where this British spy’s name came from or the source of inspiration? You might think that Fleming chose this name because of a hidden meaning, or perhaps it symbolizes something.

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In reality, that could not be further from the truth! Ian Fleming was looking for a name that was “as normal as possible.” He looked through a birdwatching book until he found the right one – a bird expert, Dr. James Bond.

Cool cameo

From Russia with Love is probably one of the most famous entries in the franchise. It was the last film that John F. Kennedy saw before he died. But did you spot the secret cameo by the train in one particular scene?

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If you pause the movie at around 1 hour and 16 minutes, you should see a man standing next to the train as it passes. This old man looks directly at the camera. Who is he? It’s Ian Fleming himself!

Watch out!

The Bond series is well known for being full of action. Unfortunately, this action can sometimes get a little out of hand. The crew used a new type of rocket fuel for Thunderball to destroy Emilio Largo’s unique yacht.

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This type of rocket fuel turned out to be a little too new, as the crew accidentally used too much when creating the explosion. The result? The booming sound smashed the windows of a town over 30 miles away! Oops!

Flying high

Another iconic part of the franchise is the use of helicopters. Villains are seen flying away in one when Bond notoriously brings them down with his weapons. Sometimes, he even flies in them himself! They are featured in almost every film.

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In fact, they’ve been in every Bond film since From Russia With Love. The only film not to contain a helicopter is The Man With the Golden Gun. Many critics disliked this film – perhaps the lack of helicopters is why.

What’s next?

You might think that each of the films directly follows after the other. In reality, this is not actually true. There is only one film in the entire series that is treated as a direct sequel to the film before it.

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Did you guess what it was? It’s 2008’s Quantum of Solace, which follows directly after the loved movie Casino Royale. Spoiler alert: it was chosen as a sequel to show Bond coping with the loss of his lover in the film before.

Age is just a number

The oldest person to play 007 is Roger Moore. He was 58 in A View to a Kill. On the opposite side, George Lazenby was the youngest. For On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the talented Australian actor was only 30.

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The only actor to play Bond at the ‘right’ age is Daniel Craig. He took on the role when he was 38 years old, the same as Bond when he first became a secret agent. No wonder he’s so great!

We are family

There must be something special in the Fleming family’s water, as many famous faces are in the bloodline. For example, legendary actor Christopher Lee was Ian Fleming’s cousin. He was going to star as Doctor No but backed out in the end.

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Christopher Lee played the villain of a different Bond movie; the assassin Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, to make up for this. Ian Fleming’s father was also a Member of the British Parliament for six years!

Monkey see monkey do

Whenever a writer begins a new book, it eventually goes through several different changes. Sometimes the characters are altered, or plot events are added or removed – many things can happen. One of the strangest changes involves Dr. No’s script.

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In the final version, the villain was played by Joseph Wiseman. We reckon that Wiseman would have probably found this role a little harder to play in the original draft. Dr. No was supposed to be an evil monkey instead!

An artistic author

Ian Fleming’s most famous work is easily James Bond. But did you know that he wrote quite a few other notable books, too? The other well-known text is the children’s book Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, which became a hit movie in 1968.

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Similarly, iconic kids’ author Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for the film You Only Live Twice. We are pretty surprised at this because this movie is miles away from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or James and the Giant Peach!

Booming business

The James Bond franchise is known for being highly successful and popular. There are probably only a few people worldwide who have never seen nor heard of this British spy before. But, which film is the most successful in the series?

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That award goes to 1965’s Thunderball, which, adjusted for inflation, grossed $1.04 billion at the box office. The least successful entry was Licence to Kill, released in 1989. This film made ‘only’ $285 million. We’d be pretty happy with that figure!

Everyone’s a critic

You would think that having your book put on the big screen would be a cause for celebration. We certainly do! Not for Ian Fleming. He hated the movie Dr. No the first time that he saw it and was very critical.

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His exact words after seeing the blockbuster were “Dreadful. Simply dreadful.” Fleming reportedly disliked Sean Connery as Bond because he didn’t match Fleming’s original idea for the character. Connery was a more rugged character, but Bond was written as clean-cut.

From the small screen to the big screen

You might think that Bond’s first screen outing was in Dr. No – but you’d be wrong. 007 was actually featured as part of CBS’s Climax! Series in 1954. However, his name was changed to “Jimmy Bond” for the American audience.

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Actor Barry Nelson played Jimmy. We’re not surprised if you didn’t know this fact – the show was forgotten almost immediately. Still, you can catch this adaptation of 007 as a bonus feature on the DVD of 1967’s Casino Royale movie.

A false start

Albert Broccoli is well-known as being one of the lead producers for many of the James Bond films. But it wasn’t always going to be this way. He met with Ian Fleming in the late 1950s, along with Irving Allen.

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Allen rejected the idea of a Bond movie, saying they weren’t even fit for television either. Fleming then sold the rights to Harry Saltzman. Luckily for Broccoli, he eventually worked with Saltzman to make the films. The rest is history!

Killer paint

Whenever a movie as big as something like Goldfinger is released, there ultimately ends up being several different rumors swirling around about it. One of the most famous Bond myths surrounds the horrifying and tragic film death of Jill Masterston.

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People saw Masterston’s “death by gold paint” as the real deal. An urban legend spread about the actress Shirley Eaton is dying in that particular scene. It’s not true! Eaton is alive today at the grand old age of 84.

Too famous for words

Anyone who stars in a Bond film soon becomes a household name, and it can be challenging to deal with this international level of recognition. Sean Connery, the first Bond, is probably one of the series’ most loved and notable Bonds.

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While making You Only Live Twice, the Japanese press hounded Connery at every opportunity. This even includes bathroom breaks! Connery was shocked to find a photographer watching him carefully above a bathroom stall. This is one reason why Connery couldn’t take it anymore.

A welcome return

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was released in 1969 to a rather disappointing reception. This was the first film not to feature Sean Connery, so the producers were eager to get him back in the role. They offered him $1.25 million!

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They gave him 12.5% of the film’s gross if he came back for Diamonds Are Forever. This world-record deal was the highest salary for a single film actor at the time. We can see why he chose to return!

The perfect pacifist

A pacifist is someone who hates violence. You would hardly attach this word to anyone in the Bond series, but it is true. The longest-running actor to play Bond, Roger Moore, hated all forms of violence and guns. This just means he is an exceptional actor.

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While playing the role, Moore took inspiration from the books. Fleming said in the books that Bond did not like killing for his job but did it if he had to. Bond ended up being Moore’s most recognizable role, even today.

Missing M

Another very recognizable character from the series is M, who is the leader of MI6. M has been played by a number of famous faces, including Ralph Fiennes and Judi Dench. But M does not appear in one film.

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Can you guess what it is? It’s For Your Eyes Only, which was released in 1981. Instead of M, the leader of MI6 is Bill Tanner, who James Villiers played. Tanner takes M’s role by giving Bond some very detailed instructions.

Seeing double

Here is yet another famous figure in the Bond series in the role of a Bond girl. These women do not usually feature for more than one film as they are often killed off. Only two have made it to a sequel.

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However, actress Maud Adams is the only one to play two separate Bond girls. She played Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun from 1974, then went on to play a different Bond girl in Octopussy from 1983.

Naming devices

We have already seen that there’s quite a bit of meaning in many names used in the franchise. This symbolization also includes the name of 1995’s GoldenEye. In the movie, the name refers to a unique piece of technology.

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In reality, Ian Fleming chose this name after the title of his house in Jamaica. GoldenEye was where he wrote each Bond adventure. You can even visit the luxury resort today if you want to witness first-hand some of Fleming’s inspiration.

A mystery author

In 1964, Ian Fleming sadly died of heart disease. Naturally, fans around the world were keen to see more material from Bond and were saddened at Fleming’s death. Three years later, The Adventures of James Bond Junior was released.

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The real mystery is – who wrote it? The alleged author, “R. D. Mascott,” is a fake name, but nobody knows for whom. Well, not nobody – the publishers were sworn never to reveal the real author. To this day, it’s a mystery.

A cursed set?

Here’s another urban legend about the Bond films; this time, it’s Live and Let Die from 1973. The film features aspects of voodoo, which led to some rumors about production being cursed. While filming, a Louisiana bayou was flooded.

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Roger Moore was hospitalized with kidney stones, and there were numerous boat crashes during chase scenes. Was it a curse? Probably not. All the trouble was likely caused by the pressure of being the first film after Connery left permanently.

Famous faces

It seems that the Bond movies are full of famous singers and actors! One celebrity who didn’t appear was the late David Bowie. He was initially considered for the part of Zorin in A View to a Kill, alongside Sting.

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Sting was unable to take the role because of other commitments. However, Bowie ultimately refused because he “didn’t want to spend five months watching my double fall of mountains.” We completely understand it, although it would’ve been cool to see!

Unwelcome side-effects

It’s clear from the movies that playing the role of 007 is a tough job. Filming year-round is grueling, and you can get a lot of injuries from the intense work. The current Bond, Daniel Craig, has suffered numerous injuries.

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During No Time to Die, he injured his ankle, and while filming Quantum of Solace, Craig ended up tearing a muscle in his shoulder. His calves were ruptured for Skyfall, and Spectre’s filming resulted in a temporary brace. Tough job!

Super singers

For some of the Bond films, the themes are just as iconic as the movies. Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger for the movie of the same name is a classic. She is also the only singer to have sung multiple Bond themes.

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After Goldfinger, Bassey also sung Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker. She was also going to sing Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang for Thunderball, but producers chose Tom Jones’s song instead. Many people still think Goldfinger is the best of all of them.

Miss Moneypenny

Miss Moneypenny is one of the few recurring female characters in the series that doesn’t have a relationship with James Bond. Props to her! The first actress to play her, Lois Maxwell, was given a choice of character before starting.

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Producers said she could either play Miss Moneypenny or love interest, Sylvia Trench. Sylvia only had a minor role in the first film, while Maxwell’s Moneypenny went on to star in over 13 Bond films. She made the right choice!

Sean Not-erry

The intro title to the early films of the franchise is possibly one of the most iconic opening scenes ever. Bond is ducking and diving from the barrel of a gun. Initially, producers were not sure how to open the film.

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This scene was one of many opening tests, so they had Sean Connery’s stuntman, Bob Simmons, do it instead. So, this means that Bob Simmons technically counts as being an actual Bond actor. We are so jealous of him!

Computer trickery

The James Bond series is known for setting many records in film, particularly in terms of their sales. However, The Man with the Golden Gun, released in 1974, set an impressive record during the production of an iconic difficult stunt.

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A car jumps to the other side of a broken bridge in the scene while doing a corkscrew twist – a pretty challenging move! To help calculate the jump, the production team used computer modeling. They were the first crew to do this.

The Return of Kiel

The villains of the Bond franchise are just as legendary as the main character himself – and for a good reason. Jaws, played by Richard Kiel, was first introduced in The Spy Who Loved Me, released in 1977. Check out those teeth!

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Audiences immediately fell in love with him and sent letters to the producers, asking for his return. There was something about his sinister metal teeth that fans loved! They got their wish when Jaws returned in Moonraker, released in 1979.

Bond vs. Bond

Due to complex legal matters before the first film was released, producer Kevin McClory won the rights to create a film for Thunderball while Octopussy was gearing for a release in 1983. McClory renamed the film Never Say Never Again.

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Never Say Never Again featured Connery’s last time as Bond, but it, unfortunately, wasn’t enough. Octopussy beat the film at the box office, though critics praised the more emotional aspects of Never Say Never Again. Bond’s greatest enemy? Himself!

Licence to…what?

License to Kill was the last Bond film to feature Timothy Dalton in the role, so it had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, this meant that its name had to be perfect after testing audiences noticed some issues.

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The film was originally titled Licence Revoked, but many American audiences thought this referred to having your driving license taken away instead. Nowhere near as cool! They decided last minute to change the name, resulting in delays in the film’s promotion.

Initial resistance

Daniel Craig has quickly become the most recognizable Bond face in recent memory. His charisma and acting ability are unmatched. So, it seems surprising to hear that he initially did not want the role when producers offered it to him.

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When he was first given the role, Daniel Craig was very hesitant, as he knew that it would completely change his life. The film’s producer, Barbara Broccoli, gave Craig another nudge, and he eventually decided to accept the role.

Almost Bond

With a role as famous as Bond, there will always be a number of actors who were almost the star. Most of these were unsuccessful because the final star beat them at the final casting step. There was tough competition.

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Some of these almost Bonds include Burt Reynolds, Sam Neill, James Brolin, Michael Gambon, Richar Burton, Cary Grant, and David Niven. Ewan McGregor was offered the part before becoming the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars’ prequels, Ewan McGregor was offered the role, too!