Was James Bond based on a Dominican diplomat’s life? Christopher Rivas investigates his story on ‘Rubirosa’

Society & Culture August 14, 2022
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Did you know James Bond’s character was based on a Dominican man, Porfiro Rubirosa? He was a diplomat, international polo champ, pilot, race car driver, lived a playboy lifestyle, and spoke 5 languages. Rubirosa became the world’s richest man twice, and his story supposedly inspired Bond’s character from Ian Fleming’s franchise. Witness Docs’ “Rubirosa” shares his true story, hosted by the Dominican-American author, storyteller, and lifelong James Bond fan Christopher Rivas.

Rivas and Rubirosa share heritage, and Rivas wonders how his life could have differed if his heroes looked like him growing up. In the podcast, Rivas is diving into questions about his own life and Rubirosa’s. What can Rubirosa’s life teach Rivas about identity, success, love, family, Hollywood, code-switching, and white-washing? This series also explores Brownness and culture with Rivas, who was raised in New York.

Start the podcast from episode 1 to hear the full narrative, from how Rivas first learned about Rubirosa from a Vanity Fair article, through Rubirosa’s history around the world. All parts run less than 45 minutes on average, with new episodes released over the next few weeks.

By episode 2, we learn more about Rubirosa’s upbringing in Paris, his relationship with one of most dangerous historical figures, and how he worked for one of the bloodiest dictators in Latin American history. We hear about several of Rubirosa’s interactions, why he was watched by the FBI, and would randomly disappear for long periods of time. Episode 3 investigates if this character actually set the stage for James Bond.

In the series, Rivas talks about his own roots, life experiences with old friends, and also chats with those who knew Rubirosa. Rivas does a great job investigating and linking the past to the present with some cultural analysis, too.

Tune in weekly for new episodes of “Rubirosa” wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Listen to ‘Rubirosa’

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