MI6 History Reveals Real James Bond

Author reveals Ian Fleming's inspiration

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 22, 2010 3:59 AM CDT | Updated Sep 22, 2010 6:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – An author given license to go through MI6's pre-1949 files says he's uncovered a few real-life inspirations for James Bond in the British spy agency's history, including the most likely devil-may care candidate. Commander Wilfred Dunderdale, "had a penchant for pretty women and fast cars" while heading up the agency's Paris station in the '30s, author Keith Jeffery tells the Telegraph. Dunderdale was "a man of great charm and savoir-faire" who befriended James Bond author Ian Fleming later in life and claimed to have recognized himself in numerous penned escapades, Jeffery says.

The scene in Goldfinger where Bond emerges from the water and unzips a wetsuit to reveal a spotless dinner suit was based on reality, Jeffery says. Another agent working for MI6 swam ashore near a casino in Nazi-occupied Holland wearing a tuxedo under a specially designed rubber suit. A colleague sprinkled him with brandy to complete the disguise as a party-goer, and the agent smoothly blended into the casino crowd, Jeffery writes in his book MI6, the History of the Secret Intelligence Service.

Ian Fleming, British author and creator of James Bond, befriended former agent Wilfred Dunderdale.
Ian Fleming, British author and creator of James Bond, befriended former agent Wilfred Dunderdale.   (Getty Images)
Sean Connery's James Bond wore a tux under his wetsuit in the opening scene of Goldfinger.
Sean Connery's James Bond wore a tux under his wetsuit in the opening scene of "Goldfinger."   (YouTube)
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