Michael Bond, creator of Paddington, the marmalade-loving bear from deepest darkest Peru, has died. Publisher Harper Collins UK announced the news this afternoon, saying Bond passed away at home on Tuesday after a short illness. He was 91.
The British author sold his first short story in 1945 and published his first Paddington book, A Bear Called Paddington, in 1958. He ultimately published over 200 books for children, including dozens devoted to the trouble-prone duffel coat- and wellie-sporting ursine.
In all, over 35M Paddington books have been sold worldwide. Bond’s last work, Paddington’s Finest Hour, was published in April this year. Other characters Bond was known for include Olga da Polga and Monsieur Pamplemousse.
But it was Paddington who inspired toys, TV shows and most recently Studiocanal’s 2014 eponymously titled hit film which was produced by David Heyman and went on to gross $268M at the global box office.
Paddington 2, due for release in the UK on November 10 and in the U.S. via TWC-Dimension on January 12, 2018, will set the bear on more adventures with the Brown family.
Bond also produced a BBC series adaptation of Paddington beginning in 1975. Other series included 1989’s Paddington Bear made by Hanna-Barbera and 1997 British-French-Canadian co-production, The Adventures Of Paddington Bear.
Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher HarperCollins Children’s Books said today, “I feel privileged to have been Michael Bond’s publisher — he was a true gentleman, a bon viveur, the most entertaining company and the most enchanting of writers.”