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Erno Goldfinger
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    (September 11, 1902-November 17, 1987)
    Born in Budapest, Hungary
    Modernist architect
    Known for designing residential tower blocks
    Ian Fleming named a James Bond villain after him
    Until he was in his 50s, he lived off an allowance from his parents. He then was supported by his wife, an heir to the Crosse & Blackwell fortune.
    He was a humorless man who fired assistants for being inappropriately jocular.
    He had clients thrown out of his office for suggesting changes to his designs.
    A friend asked to preview the Bond novel told him that the only substantial difference was 'You're called Erno and he's called Auric.'
    He threatened to sue Fleming but backed off after the publishers agreed to pay his legal costs and added an 'all characters are fictitious' disclaimer to the book.
    The house he designed for himself at 2 Willow Road in London was acquired by the National Trust.
    He and his wife lived in Balfour Tower for two months to get feedback from residents about what they did and did not like about his design.
    After the movie 'Goldfinger' was released, he had to put up with jokers calling him up in the middle of the night and doing Sean Connery impressions while delivering lines like 'Goldfinger? This is 007.'
    Although it is often claimed that Fleming used Goldfinger's name for a villain to express for the real Goldfinger's architecture, there is no evidence in his private papers that he felt that way -- or had much of an opinion about modernist architecture in general. More likely, as with the real James Bond, he heard the name and decided it suited his character too well not to use.

Credit: C. Fishel

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