From Gunnar Schäfer to Bond, James Bond: One Man’s Journey to Embracing an Iconic Identity
At the age of 49, one man made a decision that would forever align him with a cinematic and literary icon: he legally changed his name to “Bond. James Bond.”
The renowned phrase, recognized worldwide from the blockbuster James Bond franchise, is now a daily reality for the Swedish man formerly known as Gunnar Schäfer.
“Sometimes when I get mail in the post, I cry,” revealed Bond, James Bond who adopted the full moniker in 2007. The tears, he explained, are not elicited by the letters’ contents but by the sight of the name on the envelopes—a name that symbolizes far more than a mere identification.
The Absence of a Father: Finding Solace in Fiction
Bond, James Bond’s journey began in childhood. After his father’s mysterious disappearance two years after his birth, he was declared dead by 1969, leaving behind a family with no closure.
“I have absolutely no memories of my dad,” Bond admitted, recounting his mother’s struggles to raise three children alone and his own longing for a paternal figure.
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“I was immediately drawn to Sean Connery as James Bond,” he recalled, enamored by the tough persona and high-octane action. This fascination extended beyond the films to Ian Fleming’s books and various memorabilia.
His commitment to the James Bond legacy culminated in the legal name change—a tribute to the enduring impact of the franchise and its creator, Ian Fleming, who Bond considers a father figure.
“It means the world to me to have the same name as my idol,” he affirmed, reflecting on his deep emotional connection to the character and the world Fleming crafted.
Beyond Regret: Living as James Bond
Despite the oddities and challenges that come with bearing such an iconic name, Bond, James Bond has no regrets.
“James Bond comforted and helped me while I was growing up, it feels right that I’ve devoted my life to it,” he declared. His passion has taken him across the globe and enabled him to connect with fellow enthusiasts, illustrating the unifying power of this cultural phenomenon.
Perhaps most poignant was his visit to Fleming’s grave, a moment that underscored the profound, almost familial connection he feels with the creator of James Bond.
Standing at the grave, he was struck by a profound sense of tranquility and a heartbreaking realization: “This is the closest I can get to my dad,” he said.