Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908-1964) was born in London, England, an author best known for creating British secret agent James Bond 007 in a successful series of books. The character appeared in 12 novels and 9 short stories. Fleming's first Bond novel was Casino Royale (1953).
The first person to play James Bond was American actor Barry Nelson (1917-2007), starring in a TV adaptation of Casino Royale for the Climax Mystery Theater anthology series in 1954. Peter Lorre co-starred as Le Chiffre.
Bond: I admire your courage, Miss...?
Sylvia Trench: Trench. Sylvia Trench. I admire your luck, Mr...?
Bond: Bond. James Bond.
Canadian producer Harry Saltzman (1915-1994) bought the rights to Ian Fleming’s Bond adventures in 1961 and teamed up with Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli (1909-1996) to form a company – Eon (Everything or Nothing), they made a deal with United Artists to produce the first of what they hoped was a series of Bond films.
Actors considered for the role of 007 in Dr. No include David Niven, Cary Grant, Richard Burton, James Mason and Patrick McGoohan.
Sean Connery (1930-) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, he was a truck driver, coffin polisher and was also a body builder before turning to acting.
Dr. No (1962) was directed by Terence Young and starring Sean Connery as James Bond, Ursula Andress as Honey Rider, Bernard Lee as M, Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny and Joseph Wiseman as the first Bond movie villain Dr. Julius No.
From Russia With Love (1963) was directed by Terence Young and starred Sean Connery as Bond, Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova, Robert Shaw as Donald 'Red' Grant, Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb, Vladek Sheybal as Kronsteen and Pedro Armendariz as Kerim Bey.
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!
Goldfinger (1964) was directed by Guy Hamilton and starred Sean Connery as 007, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Gert Frobe as Auric Goldfinger, Harold Sakata as Oddjob, Shirley Eaton as Jill Masterson and Tania Mallet as Tilly Masterson.
Goldfinger was a smash hit, the first of the series to break box office records. It was the beginning of Bondmania.
Domino: What sharp little eyes you have.
Bond: Wait till you get to my teeth.
Thunderball (1965) was directed by Terence Young and starred Sean Connery as J.B, Claudine Auger as Domino Derval, Adolfo Celi as Emilio Largo, Luciana Paluzzi as Fiona Volpe and Martine Beswick as Paula Caplan.
Blofeld: The firing power inside my crater is enough to annihilate a small army. You can watch it all on TV. It's the last program you're likely to see.
Bond: Well, if I'm going to be forced to watch television, may I smoke?
Blofeld: Give him his cigarettes. It won't be the nicotine that kills you, Mr. Bond.
You Only Live Twice (1967) directed by Lewis Gilbert and starred Sean Connery as Commander Bond, Donald Pleasance as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Akiko Wakabayashi as Aki, Mie Hama as Kissy Suzuki, Tetsuro Tanba as Tiger Tanaka, Karin Dor as Helga Brandt and Charles Gray as Dikko Henderson.
The title comes from a poem Bond writes to Tanaka in Ian Fleming's novel – "You only live twice. Once when you are born, and once when you look death in the face".
Le Chiffre "Don't worry about that chair with a hole in the middle. It's merely waiting to be reupholstered."
Casino Royale (1967) is a spoof comedy directed by John Huston, Val Guest, Ken Hughes, Joseph McGrath and Robert Parrish. Starring David Niven as Sir James Bond, Peter Sellers as Evelyn Tremble, Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd, Orson Welles as Le Chiffre, Woody Allen as Jimmy Bond, Deborah Kerr as Lady Fiona McTarry and John Huston as M.
James Bond: This never happened to the other fella.
Sean Connery was bored with Bond and quit the series after You Only Live Twice, Australian ex-male model George Lazenby (1939-) was picked to replace him.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). was directed by Peter Hunt and also starred Diana Rigg as Contessa Teresa de Vicenzo aka Tracy, Telly Savalas as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Gabriele Ferzetti as Marc Ange Draco, Ilse Steppat as Irma Bunt and George Baker as Sir Hilary Bray.
Tiffany Case: My God! You just killed James Bond!
James Bond: Is that who it was? Well just goes to show, no one's indestructible.
Lazenby was out and Connery was back but only for this one film, he was paid £1.2m which he donated to the Scottish International Education Fund.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) was directed by Guy Hamilton and also starred Jill St. John as Tiffany Case, Charles Gray as Blofeld, Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole, Bruce Glover as Mr. Wint and Putter Smith as Mr. Kidd.