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Beginning with the film Q Planes, Whittingham was a prolific screenwriter. He is particularly famous for having collaborated with Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory on a James Bond screenplay for a film. When these plans were scrapped, Fleming novelized the work into his ninth official novel, Thunderball; however, the novel only credited Fleming. McClory and Whittingham then sued Fleming, which led to a settlement in 1963 that gave McClory the film rights to the novel. During the lawsuit, Jack Whittingham stepped down as 'co-plaintiff' and stood by Kevin as 'principal witness', having previously signed away all his rights "of whatsoever nature" entirely when the screenplay was presumed finished. As a result of the settlement, future versions of the novel were forced to credit, based on the screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ian Fleming (in that order). Two adaptations of Thunderball were subsequently made, the first being Thunderball in 1965 as part of the series of films from Eon Productions. The second adaptation was the film Never Say Never Again in 1983. Further adaptations had been planned at one point or another by McClory, but were scrapped due to lawsuits from MGM and United Artists.
In the actual film Thunderball, credits are somewhat complex. Like a good number of James Bond films, it was promoted as "Ian Fleming's Thunderball." The screenplay was credited to Richard Maibaum and John Hopkins, but was credited as having been "Based on an original screenplay by Jack Whittingham," which also was credited as being "Based on the original story by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, and Ian Fleming." Jack's sole original screenplay credit has been omitted from posters and other promotional materials.
Whittingham died in 1972, eleven years before McClory's Thunderball remake, Never Say Never Again, was released in cinemas.