Christopher Wood, a novelist who under the pen name Timothy Lea wrote the ribald Confessions series of novels and films and who, under his own name wrote the screenplay to the James Bond film Moonraker and cowrote The Spy Who Loved Me, died earlier this year at age 79. His death did not become widely known until this week, following former Bond star Sir Roger Moore paying tribute to him on Twitter October 17.
Born November 5, 1935 in London, Wood’s early childhood was defined by the German blitz during World War II. Graduating from Cambridge in 1960 with degrees in economics and law, he served in the British military in Cypress, experience that would inform his later fiction work. Following the military, he became an advertising executive while trying unsuccessfully to break out as a novelist.
His break came in 1971 with the publication of Confessions of a Window Cleaner, the first in a series of confessional sex novels (a genre popular at the time) purporting to be about the graphic adventures of Wood’s pseudonymous Timothy Lea. It was adapted as a movie in 1974 and launched a short-lived franchise of four films, all written by Wood using the Lea alias.
Wood frequently wrote pulp level fiction using aliases, including a female counterpart to Lea named “Rosie Dixon”, and “Frank Clegg,” author of a novel about soccer hooligans. Among those books written under his own name, he wrote the novel A Dove Against Death(1981), the historical fiction series based around adventurer “John Adam,” a sequel to The Luck of Barry Lyndon called The Further Adventures of Barry Lyndon by Himself, and his 2006 memoir James Bond, The Spy I Loved.
After Wood cowrote the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me under his own name, he wrote the movie’s authorized adaptation, becoming the first author to do so for the then-15 year old film series. He was sole screenwriter on the next film, Moonraker, and penned that film’s authorized novelization as well.
The two films were Wood’s only work in the Bond series, but he went on to write several more films, including the 1985 cult classic Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. Among his other writing credits are the 1979 British TV series Lovely Couple, and the USA Network movie Dangerous Curves.
Living in France during his later years, he is survived by a son and daughter.