Responsible for adapting Ian Fleming's James Bond character for the screen. Owner of the film rights in the novel 'Thunderball as well as other plot lines and devices that he developed with Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming. Producer of the most successful Bond film of the franchise 'Thunderball'. In the late 1990's McClory was involved in major litigation between MGM and Sony concerning Bond. MGM and Sony settled leaving McClory's Bond rights untouched.
McClory was approached by Ian Fleming though their mutual friend Ivar Bryce to produce the first Bond film. McClory argued that the novels as written were unsuitable for adaptation for the screen and that the character of Bond would have to be drastically rewritten. McClory began work on the new Bond with the help of Fleming and later with screenwriter Jack Whittingham. McClory made radical changes to the character replacing the cold, sadistic misanthropic Bond of the novels with the warm, witty and charming Bond of the films. At the same time as he was rewriting the character McClory began production on the first Bond film. Interest grew in what Fleming referred to as "Kevin's Bond" and major studios began to take notice of the project. Fleming had sold his interest in the film to McClory and Bryce's company 'Xanadu Productions' for $50,000 and stood to gain little should the project be a hit. Fleming and Bryce conspired to edge McClory out but when they made Jack Whittingham aware of their plans Jack blew the whistle and the project ground to a halt. Fleming and Bryce's actions together with Fleming's plagiarism of the Thunderball script led to the famous 1963 court action in which McClory won the film rights in Thunderball as well as the other Bond scripts they had worked on together. Fleming's unauthorized copy of McClory's Thunderball script made it into the hands of Richard Maibaum who incorporated the newly developed Bond character into Dr. No and the Bond movie franchise was born.
At the time of his death, McClory had been married twice and divorced once. He was survived by his two sons and two daughters.
As a radio officer in the Merchant Navy McClory was attacked twice by German U-Boats. The first attack was while he was serving aboard the Mathilda. A U-Boat surfaced and attacked McClory's ship with heavy machine gun fire. The crew of the ship fired back and the U-Boat retreated. The second attack was while McClory was serving on the Norweigan tanker Stigstead. The Stigstead was attacked with torpedoes by multiple U-Boats. The ship sank and McClory and the other survivors made it to a life raft. They survived in terrible conditions for two weeks and traveled more than 600 miles before being rescued off the coast of Ireland. Two seaman died on the raft and a third died soon after they were rescued. McClory suffered severe frostbite and lost the ability to speak for more than a year after the incident. When he recovered his voice he was left with a pronounced stammer. McClory served out the rest of the war in the British Navy.
In 1957 McClory was one of the first people to drive around the World. He made a documentary of the expedition for the Ford Motor Company.
Through his long friendship with writer and painter Christy Brown he became an advocate for the rights of the disabled. McClory produced the award winning short film Circasia (1975) starring John Huston, Sean Connery, Shirley Maclaine, Burgess Meredith and Eric Clapton to raise funds for the Central Remedial Clinic in Dublin, Ireland.
McClory wrote the Bond film 'Warhead' with Sean Connery and Len Deighton. The film was never made due to a High Court legal action brought by the Fleming Trustees and funded by Eon/Danjaq. The Trustees' bid failed and McClory's Bond rights were confirmed but production had already begun on the less contentious 'Never Say Never Again' (1984).
Dated Elizabeth Taylor (1955-1956).
His former wife Fredericka Ann (Bo) Sigrist is the daughter of famed aviation pioneer Frederick Sigrist (1884-1956).