Why have there been so many theories behind the inspiration of the James Bond character?

Why have there been so many theories behind the inspiration of the James Bond character? Every couple of years, it seems there’s a new theory. Didn’t Ian Fleming ever reveal his inspiration? If not, why not?
I look forward to your feedback.

“The man believed to have been the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s fictional hero James Bond has died at the age of 85, his family said yesterday.
Former diplomat, writer, soldier and Tory MP Sir Fitzroy Maclean died on Saturday from a heart attack while staying with friends in Hertfordshire, his son Charles said at the family home in Strachur, Argyll.”

“A new biography of Wing Commander Forest “Tommy” Yeo-Thomas, one of Britain’s greatest secret agents of the war, claims the writer based the character of 007 on the spy and recreated many of his real life experiences in his novels.”

Many inspirations apparently:

Since this is about a literary character, let’s move it to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

Hmmm. The one I’ve heard (from reading A Man Called Intrepid) was that Dušan Popov was a major inspiration for Bond. Of course, Intrepid himself has also been cited as an inspiration.

It’s safest to say that Fleming took inspiration from a number of the remarkable men he served with in WWII, as well as himself.

I doubt there was a direct inspiration. Fleming most likely invented the character.

More than any real-life person, I’m guessing Fleming may have been inspired by the titular character of Ashenden: Or the British Agent, by W. Somerset Maugham. That book is the prototypical 20th Century spy novel (well, collection of short stories) and an obvious influence on those that followed, but Fleming borrows from it even more liberally than most other subsequent spy novelists.

James Bond is an archetype, pure and without real flaws (Drinking and womanizing are kind of glamorous in the context of an intelligence agent). Real people have to stop and take a crap now and then. Fictional archetypes don’t. There is no single inspiration for Bond, but he may embody the best or most interesting characteristics of several people Fleming knew or heard about.

I always figured it came about as a result of Fleming being painfully aware that most spy stuff is dreadfully dull work, and wanting to make something more out of it.

I’d never heard of it. Thanks for the note! My library has a copy, so I’ll know more soon!

You can also assume that a lot of current obit and bio writers want to spread the idea that their subject was the one true inspiration for 007.

Fleming never said, and anyone else is just trying to reflect some 007 cool onto their pet person. IOW, the causation runs the opposite of the way they claim it does.