'My grandad was basis for evil Bond villain Scaramanga'

Scaramanga named after 007 author's school rival

8th August 2007
Daily Mail

He was the ultimate Bond villain with a name to match.

Francisco 'Pistols' Scaramanga was the suave, sophisticated assassin determined to be 007's nemesis and immortalised by Ian Fleming as The Man with the Golden Gun.

The success of Fleming's novel and the subsequent film version ensured that the name Scaramanga would forever be associated with evil.

Dave Scaramanga and Bond writer Ian Fleming

But yesterday it emerged that the inspiration for the dark character was very unlike his fictional namesake.

George Ambrose Scaramanga had been a classmate of Fleming's at Eton College in the 1920s.

And far from being evil, he was described by his grandson as a gentle chap - who became rector of the Hampshire village of Abbots Ann.

'All in all, he couldn't have been any more different from the Bond villain,' Dave Scaramanga added.

It remains unclear exactly what young George had done to deserve being linked with an assassin.

Henry Chancellor, author of James Bond - the Man and his World, said: "Fleming would have recognised Scaramanga for the brilliant name that it is, and the fact that he is a villain need not reflect badly on his schoolmate."

But the current Mr Scaramanga hinted at something darker, possibly connected with the fact that Fleming - who is said to have been expelled from Eton for bad behaviour - resented his classmate.

Christopher Lee starred as Scaramanga in the 1974 Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun

"I think it was just because they were very different," said Mr Scaramanga.

"My grandfather was a model student at school. He was quiet, well-behaved and studious - the complete opposite of Mr Fleming.

"Fleming was supposedly a bit of a tear-away and my grandad was a wellmannered, old-fashioned kind of gent.

"And when I knew him as a child he was a softly-spoken, gentle old man.

"He survived the Second World War, was awarded the Military Cross and ended his days as a country vicar."

Fleming saw fit to give his character, played by Christopher Lee in the 1974 film, a third nipple - a physical characteristic that was definitely not shared by the original.

Mr Scaramanga, 28, who runs a taxi company in Bath, Somerset, said: 'It was used to cast aspersions over my grandfather as the two didn't get on.'

He added: 'The character in the film didn't really represent my grandfather, but I suppose he was flattered. It was almost a tribute to their rivalry.

'My grandfather died years ago so I never really had time to ask him why he and Fleming hated each other.'

He said people often asked him about his name, 'but you just have to laugh it off. It's still pretty cool to share a name with a Bond villain, whatever the reason behind it'.

The Man with the Golden Gun was Fleming's 13th and final James Bond novel and was published in 1965, the year after the author died.

In the movie version, Scaramanga charges a million dollars for each kill using a gold-plated gun which fires a golden bullet.
But he meets his match in James Bond, who shoots him through the heart.

The Bond villains