1. George MacDonald Fraser (1925-2008)

    By Devin Zydel on 2008-01-02

    George MacDonald Fraser, who is credited for the screenstory and screenplay on the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy, has died at the age of 82, reports the BBC News.

    The Carlisle-born journalist turned author, who served as a solder in Burma and India during World War II and was appointed an OBE in 1999, died Wednesday, his publisher said.

    Fraser died following a battle with cancer, said Nicholas Latimer, director of publicity for Knopf, which will release Fraser’s latest work The Reavers in the US this upcoming April. Latimer was unable to provide details of where Fraser died. He lived on the Isle of Man, off the coast of northwest England.

    Besides Fraser’s contributions to 1983’s Octopussy through his screenplay, he also reportedly suggested the filming location of India to the producers (which ultimately became one of the main aspects of the film). His non-Bond screenplays include Royal Flash and The Three Musketeers.

    While Fraser’s connection to the world of 007 exists through Roger Moore’s sixth Bond film, his worldwide appeal was due to the popular Flashman adventure novels.

    The first of ultimately 11 novels, Flashman, was published in 1969 and introduced the rogueish and womanising anti-hero, Sir Harry Flashman, to the world. The character played a pivotal role in several of the 19th century’s most historical moments and always managed to emerge unscathed and covered in glory. The final novel was published in 2005.

    Fellow author Kingsley Amis called him ‘a marvellous reporter and a first-rate historical novelist.’

    The former news editor on the Herald (where Fraser served as a deputy editor), 83-year-old Bob Brown, described MacDonald Fraser as ‘a highly competent journalist. He was a smashing bloke, amiable, friendly and first-class company,’ he said.

    Murray Ritchie, 66, was taught journalism by MacDonald Fraser on the Dumfries Standard in the 1960s. ‘He was a brilliant journalist,’ he said. ‘He was a superbly gifted writer, he wrote with such clarity, and was a good leader writer and editor.’

    He added: ‘Way back in the ’60s he was seen as the journalist of his generation in Scotland.’

    Fraser’s final novel, The Reavers, is a a historical tale featuring espionage and intrigue during the reign of Elizabeth I.

    To read more about George MacDonald Fraser, check out his 2002 memoir, The Light’s on at Signpost.

    CBn wishes to extend their condolences to the family and friends of George MacDonald Fraser.