Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Will the real James Bond please stand up?

Thanks to my friend and former editor Terry O'Neill for the following guest post:

Remember last week, when the news was full of stories about the "real James Bond" having died? The man named was Patrick Dalzel-Job.Typical was the Guardian story here.

However, I noticed on page 419 of How the Scots Invented the Modern World, by Arthur Herman (a book that a good Scotsman such as Rick has surely read) that Herman states: "Few people realize that Ian Fleming's fictional spy was supposed to be a Scot....Fleming himself was of Scottish descent; her certainly modeled Bond after a Scot, Commander Fitzroy Maclean, a leading commando during World War II.

A Google search provides many more hits linking James Bond to Maclean than to Dalzel-Job.

Strange, that in all the obits for Dalzel-Job that I read and heard, there was scant acknowledgement given to the contentious nature of the "model for James Bond" assertion, yet most sources say Maclean was the actual model. For example, acknowledges that Maclean is the most often mentioned model, but declares Bond is fictional. A good Sunday Herald piece from January 2002 makes the case that Bond was actually modeled on Fleming himself.

Thanks Terry. I feel like I am watching an old episode of To Tell The Truth. "I'm the real James Bond", "No, I am the real James Bond"... Where is Bud Collyer (the 1950s/early 1960s host of the show) when you need him?

PS. I haven't read the book that Terry mentions. Perhaps some day.