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Richard Maibaum (May 26, 1909 – January 4, 1991) was an American film producer, playwright, and long-term screenwriter best known for his screenplay adaptations of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels.


After Albert R. Broccoli secured the rights to James Bond with Harry Saltzman, Broccoli hired Maibaum and his friend Wolf Mankowitz to write the screenplay for Dr. No partly because of Mankowitz's help in brokering the deal between Broccoli and Saltzman. An initial draft of the screenplay was rejected because the scriptwriters had made the villain, Dr. Julius No, a monkey. Mankowitz left the movie, and Maibaum then undertook a second version, more closely in line with the novel. Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather then worked on Maibaum's script, with Harwood in particular being described as a script doctor who helped put elements more in tune with a British character.[1] Mankowitz eventually had his name removed from the credits after viewing early rushes, as he feared it would be a disaster.[2]

After the success of Dr. No, Maibaum would contribute to write scripts for the later thirteen James Bond films for 25 years. Although several screenwriters would worked on the Bond films, Maibaum usually wrote his drafts alone. The exception came when he would work directly with Michael G. Wilson[3] in the 1980s. Between the productions of the Bond movies, Maibaum wrote for Jarrett, S+H+E: Security Hazards Expert, and Broccoli and Saltzman's film adaptation of Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.[4] On his last Bond outing, Licence to Kill, the 1988 Writer's Guild Strike occured, limiting Maibaum's participation prompting Wilson to finish on her own.

After production on Bond 17 halted, Maibaum retired. On January 4, 1991, Maibaum died from a heart attack in Los Angeles, at age 81. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, two sons, Matthew and Paul, a sister, and a granddaughter.[5]


On writing the Bond screenplays, Maibaum said, "the real trick of it is to find the villain's caper. Once you've got that, you're off to the races and the rest is fun."[6]


  1. John Corklas. Audio commentary of Dr. No (Ultimate Edition, 2006). 1999. DVD. MGM Home Entertainment.
  2. Inside Dr. No documentary. Dr. No (Ultimate Edition, 2006). DVD. MGM Home Entertainment
  3. Lee Goldberg, "Interview - Richard Maibaum & Michael G. Wilson in 1985", MI6 Website 23 May 2005 accessed 24 October 2012
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named maibaum
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named obitury
  6. Edward Gross, "An Interview with James Bond Screenwriter Richard Maibaum". Mania (2000-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-12-13.

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