E.R. Braithwaite (1912 - 2016)

E.R. Braithwaite, the author who wrote the autobiographical novel "To Sir, With Love," drawing on his experiences as a teacher in London's East End during the 1950s, died Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, according to multiple news sources. He was 104.

The author's companion, Ginette Ast, told The Associated Press that Braithwaite died at a medical center in Rockville, Maryland, following a brief illness.

The 1959 book was adapted later for the big screen; the 1967 James Clavell film starred Sidney Poitier, and the Scottish singer Lulu played a part in the film and sang its theme song, which became a No. 1 hit for her that same year.


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Edward Ricardo Braithwaite was born June 27, 1912, in Georgetown, British Guyana. He was educated at Queen's College in Guyana and later the City College of New York. In 1949, he attended the University of Cambridge, receiving a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in physics.

After a stint in the Royal Air Force, he tried in vain to find work related to his educational field, so he took a teaching job at a rough-and-tumble secondary school in London's East End. "To Sir, With Love" drew on his experiences there.

In the novel and movie, the students, ill-mannered and ill-equipped to learn, at first frustrate their teacher, Ricky Braithwaite. After taking a new tack in teaching, however, he manages to win them over.

The author, whose works often touched on the topics of racism experienced by an educated black man, also wrote "Paid Servant" (1962), "A Kind of Homecoming" (1962), and "Choice of Straws" (1965).

Braithwaite later became a college educator and a diplomat. He was the permanent representative to the United Nations for Guyana as well as Guyana's ambassador to Venezuela.

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