Was James Bond Based on This Dominican Diplomat & Playboy?

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres
Art by Stephany Torres
Read more

Ian Fleming’s famous spy, James Bond, is reportedly getting a new actor in the form of Aaron Taylor-Johnson. And every time the rumor mill speculates over who could play the fictional spy next after the departure of Daniel Craig, there’s renewed interest in who the inspiration for James Bond was. For many, it was Dominican Diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa. But was he Ian Fleming’s inspiration for James Bond?

The truth is, we will never truly know, because Fleming, who wrote 12 James Bond novels, died of a heart attack in 1964 at the age of 56 without ever having confirmed who his inspiration for the famous spy was. Many men could have inspired Fleming. But it’s hard to argue against the fact that Rubirosa’s life, hobbies, and personality have a lot in common with James Bond, considering that both men ran in similar circles and liked to frequent the same areas.

Rubirosa, a diplomat under the Rafael Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, was rumored to also be a political assassin for the dictator. He was a well-known charismatic playboy who lived a life of luxury. He also married five times, first to Trujillo’s daughter Flor de Oro Trujillo, and later to rich women like Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton. He also allegedly had affairs with many famous women, including Dolores del Rio, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Judy Garland, and Eva Perón, among others.

Of him, Trujillo famously said: “He is good at his job, because women like him and he is a wonderful liar.” The man who was said to have inspired Bond was also an avid fan of polo and car racing. But he was more than that, he was also reportedly at Hitler’s box during the 1936 Olympics, in Havana as Castro invaded, arrested by the German Gestapo for selling visas to the Dominican Republic for fleeing Jews, and even shot by the French resistance during WWII.

Add to that tall, dark, and handsome, and you can see why people believe Porfirio Rubirosa was Fleming’s inspiration for Bond. And considering Rubirosa was an Afro-Latino man, that makes all the James Bond casting choices we’ve had all the more disappointing.