English children’s author created the beloved Paddington Bear…
Michael Bond, the English author who created the Paddington Bear character beloved by generations of children the world over, died Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in London, according to multiple news sources. He was 91.
The death also was confirmed by the author’s publisher, HarperCollins.
Although Bond started writing in 1945 while he was stationed in the British army in Cairo, Egypt, his first book wasn’t published until 13 years later when Bond was working for the BBC. But that 1958 book was “A Bear Called Paddington,” about a bear from deepest, “darkest Peru,” sent to the U.K. by his aunt Lucy. Paddington Bear carried a jar of marmalade and a note to his finder to “please look after this bear.” The character was adopted by the Brown family, who named him after Paddington Station where they found him.
Paddington Bear proved so popular that by 1965, Bond quit his BBC job to devote his full-time efforts to writing. Bond’s books recounting Paddington Bear’s world adventures have sold more than 35 million copies that have been published in nearly 20 countries. The books have been translated into more than 40 languages. Paddington has inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, a TV series, and two movies.
The 2014 movie “Paddington” starred Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title character, along with Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Nicole Kidman. The film has grossed more than $265 million worldwide on a $44 million budget.
In a 2014 interview with Michelle Pauli of The Guardian, Bond said he drew inspiration for his ursine character from the evacuee children he saw at a London transit station.
“They all had a label round their neck with their name and address on and a little case or package containing all their treasured possessions,” Bond said. “So Paddington, in a sense, was a refugee, and I do think that there’s no sadder sight than refugees.”
Paddington Bear’s creator was born Thomas Michael Bond Jan. 13, 1926, in Newbury, Berkshire, England.
In 2015, Bond was named a commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II as part of her birthday celebration.
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