It has been rumored for decades that Ian Fleming used Cary Grant as an inspiration for his character James Bond. Though grant and Fleming were acquainted, neither ever confirmed or denied the rumor. The fact that Fleming was responsible for inviting Grant into William Stephenson’s Hollywood celebrity spy ring during World War II does lend some credence to the speculation.
Cary grant was offered the role of James Bond in 1962 for the movie Dr. No but turned it down for multiple reasons including his age and a required extended contract. Grant had a moment of hesitation in considering the role and would have done so if he could have contracted for a single film as Bond.
James Bond is an iconic role that has been filled many talented men. As a fan of both Cary Grant and James Bond movies I can easily see Grant playing the role. There has been some debate as to whether he could have pulled it off. Most Bond fans who are loyal to the franchise but are not familiar with Grant believe that it would have never worked. I have watched Cary Grant for decades and include him in my list of all-time favorite actors and believe it would have been a performance to remember leaving a legacy that would be difficult to live up to.
Do not mistake me, I have a great appreciation for Sean Connery and while Connery developed that debonair quality with age it was not as evidenced in his early Bond roles. It is easy to see how Fleming may have perceived that first whisper of inspiration after crossing paths with Grant. I have to wonder how the franchise would have changed had Grant taken that first offering. Either way I can’t imagine the role not being iconic and indicative of the love of a good storyline.