The name is Bond, James Bond Namesakes: OK, they don't spy for a living. But in the suave, sophisticated department, they're not exactly chopped liver.

December 30, 1997|By Jennifer Mabry | Jennifer Mabry,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but if the name is Bond, it's a whole different story.

Just ask James Christopher Bond. The year was 1965, the latest James Bond movie was "Thunderball," and Baltimore's Frances Bond, mother of three boys, ages 9, 7 and 2, was expecting her fourth child.

Bond recalls that her two eldest sons, like other boys of the time, were caught up in the aura of British Agent 007. So much so that they asked their mother if they could name the new baby after him. Confident that she would finally have a girl, Frances Bond blithely replied: "Sure, we can name him James Bond."

As a result of that brief concession, James Christopher Bond, now a marketing executive for cable TV network HBO, has lived with the spy's moniker for 32 years now. He wouldn't have it any other way.

"Everyday of my life it's been an experience," he says. "I decided early ... that I was going to make the most of that name. I think it's worked out well for me."

By now you may have seen the latest Bond movie, "Tomorrow Never Dies." You've almost surely seen the Heineken beer commercials on TV: a construction worker, welder and other blue-collar types, each doing his most convincing version of 007's famous "Bond, James Bond" line for the camera.

What the commercial doesn't show is how life for those "other" James Bonds stacks up against the adventure, intrigue and decadence enjoyed by the Ian Fleming hero, first made famous by Sean Connery and currently played by Pierce Brosnan.

So we asked a few real-life Bonds to tell us.

For native Baltimorean James Christopher Bond, now a New York resident, it most recently meant getting called by a New York casting agent to audition for the Heineken commercial.

As it turned out, Bond had to vie for the right to play himself on-camera, competing with several actors. To his dismay, he didn't make the cut.

"I thought I would have been perfect for the commercial," he says with the confidence of his urbane namesake. "I thought I was charming and funny."

He figures the ad makers were looking for guys who were more of a contrast from 007. "I was too much like the real James Bond," he suggests.

A bit of adventure

Bond admits he tries to play the part of a sophisticated, debonair gentleman when out at social functions. He also allows that, a la 007, he has traveled to London, is a scuba diver and has even sky-dived.

One thing he may have on his fictional counterpart: a proud mother. Frances Bond describes her son as "very suave" and says he has the charisma to match that of the celebrated spy.

Meanwhile, back in Baltimore, several calls to two other James Bonds listed in the telephone directory went mysteriously unanswered. A bit more sleuthing, though, turned up James Piper Bond, 38, president of the Living Classrooms foundation.

He, too, was called to audition for the Heineken commercial, but declined, feeling it didn't suit his professional status.

"I don't get caught up in it all," he says of his connection to 007. "It's never been a big deal."

In fact, says Bond, who describes himself as a thin, muscular individual, with curly dark hair, he was named for his grandfather -- not the spy.

Still, there are some interesting similarities between him and the fictional Bond: He has spent significant time abroad in Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean, he has driven BMW motorcycles (as Brosnan does in the new film) and worked ski patrol in Switzerland.

He also admits that having the moniker never hurts. He recalls getting a lot of reaction to it during his travels to Europe and Asia a decade ago.

"In that part of the world, everybody laughs," he says.

Have tuxes

Incidentally, both James C. Bond and James P. Bond say they own the requisite secret agent attire: a tux. And while both own European-made vehicles, we're not talking Connery's classic Aston Martin or Brosnan's new BMW Z3.

James C., in fact, admits to being "very un-Bondlike" in his choice of transportation: an '89 Volkswagen Jetta. James P., meanwhile, drives an "old, beat-up 1985 Volvo."

Both Bonds agree on some things: They get the usual gasps and jokes when making reservations for dinner, hotels and other events. And both say Sean Connery, the first Bond, is their favorite, citing his sophistication and rugged good looks.

(James Christopher Bond's opinion carries some weight: He has a video collection of all the James Bond movies and has seen all 18 -- excepting the new one -- at least once.)

Both men also say their wives get a kick out of being Mrs. James Bond and although neither has children yet, each says he won't burden a son with the "junior" label.

As for that other crucial Bond question -- shaken or stirred? -- James Piper Bond has a simpler preference. He prefers his vodka martini "in a glass."

Pub Date: 12/30/97

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