Paddington Bear Creator Michael Bond Dies at 91

Author Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear, has died. He was 91.

Bond’s publisher, HarperCollins, said in a statement Wednesday that Bond died at home the previous day after a short illness.

Michael Bond was one of the great children’s writers, and at HarperCollins we are immensely fortunate to have published him and to have known him,” HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne said. “He was a wonderful man and leaves behind one of the great literary legacies of our time.”

“A Bear Called Paddington” introduced Bond’s most famous creation in 1958. The character was inspired by a toy bear that Bond found left on a shelf in Selfridges department store and bought as a Christmas stocking filler for his wife.

The bear from Peru, in his trademark duffel coat and Wellington boots, went on to have many more adventures over the next 60 years, including his most recent outing, “Paddington’s Finest Hour,” which was published just two months ago.

Bond, who also wrote novels for adults, lived to see his furry creation make it big on the silver screen in Studiocanal’s 2014 hit “Paddington,” with actor Ben Whishaw voicing the title role. Last year, Studiocanal bought nearly all intellectual property rights worldwide to Paddington, except for publishing rights.

A sequel to the 2014 film is due out later this year. Studiocanal has promised a third Paddington movie.

Bond, who left school at 14, wrote more than 100 books during a long career that also included stints in the British military in World War II and as a cameraman for the BBC.

“I feel privileged to have been Michael Bond’s publisher,” said Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher at HarperCollins Children’s Books. “He was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers. He will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington…which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations. My thoughts and love are with his wife, Sue, and his children, Karen and Anthony.”

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