Friday, August 11, 2017

Blanche Blackwell, Mistress And Muse Of James Bond’s Creator, Ian Fleming, Dies at 104


Matt Schudel at the Washington Post offers an obituary of Blanche Blackwell, a British socialite who lived in Jamaica and inspired Errol Flynn, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming.

Blanche Blackwell inspired one of Noel Coward’s plays about an upper-crust love triangle, and swashbuckling Hollywood star Errol Flynn wanted to marry her. She was a member of one of Jamaica’s richest families, but she was best known as the mistress and muse of Ian Fleming (seen in the below photo), the rakish author who was the creator of James Bond.


Mrs. Blackwell died Aug. 8 in London at 104. Her death was confirmed by Andrew Lycett, Fleming’s biographer. Other details were not available.

Vivacious and outdoorsy, Mrs. Blackwell was known for her bright smile and casual allure. She first met Flynn — “a gorgeous god,” in her words — in the 1940s, during one of his Jamaican vacations. He described her laugh as “like the sounds of water tinkling over a waterfall” and was so enchanted that he wanted to propose, even both were married to other people.

One of her closest friends was Coward, the gay playwright and entertainer who based a character on Mrs. Blackwell in his play 1957 “Volcano,” which was so sexually charged that it wasn’t performed in public until 2012. (Mrs. Blackwell attended the opening.)
  
She lived long enough to give business advice to U2’s Bono, whose career was launched by her son, Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records.

“She always says, ‘I love men — they make such good pets,’ ” Chris Blackwell told the British magazine Tatler this year.

Mrs. Blackwell had a home on Jamaica’s northern coast, midway between Coward’s island retreat and Fleming’s estate, Goldeneye, where he wrote his novels and stories about Bond, Agent 007.

…“She always says, ‘I love men — they make such good pets,’ ” Chris Blackwell told the British magazine Tatler this year.

Mrs. Blackwell had a home on Jamaica’s northern coast, midway between Coward’s island retreat and Fleming’s estate, Goldeneye, where he wrote his novels and stories about Bond, Agent 007.

…In Jamaica, what began as “a tropical dalliance” between the writer and Mrs. Blackwell “developed into a deep love affair,” Lycett wrote in his 1995 biography of Fleming.

Beginning in 1952, Fleming returned to Goldeneye every winter to write a new book about Bond’s adventures as a British intelligence officer and serial seducer of women — both of which he could describe from his personal experience. His wife, Ann, usually stayed in England.

…“She was really somebody who offered him friendship,” Lycett said in an interview. “She made him content and happy at a difficult time in his life. She was a woman of great charm and intelligence and was extraordinarily good company.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

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