Michael Bond, the man who created Paddington Bear, died Tuesday at age 91.
HaperCollins — who published books featuring the beloved character for six decades — announced the sad news on their Facebook page.
It is with great sadness that we announce that Michael Bond, CBE, the creator of one of Britain’s best-loved children’s characters, Paddington, died at home yesterday aged 91 following a short illness.
Published by HarperCollins for almost 60 years, Michael was a giant of children’s literature, his first book A Bear Called Paddington was published in 1958. In his long and illustrious career he published over 200 books for children. Over 35 million Paddington books have been sold worldwide and enjoyed by generations of children. The books went on to inspire toys, TV programmes and most recently the movie, Paddington produced by David Heyman for StudioCanal, and the second film eagerly awaited later this year. Michael’s latest Paddington novel, Paddington’s Finest Hour, was published in April 2017 by HarperCollins.
Bond also created characters Olga da Polga and A Mouse Called Thursday along with a series of adult novels, featuring the detective Monsieur Pamplemousse.
He was made a CBE — Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — in 2015 for his contributions to his arts.
In the books, Paddington Brown got his name from the station he was found in, carrying a jar of marmalade. The beloved bear’s iconic look includes a worn hat, suitcase, duffel coat and welly boots. He was exceedingly polite and innocent, but often found himself in trouble.
Paddington Bear’s Influence and Legacy
Paddington was described to have come from “deepest darkest Peru.” His journey was partially inspired when Bond saw Jewish children arriving at Reading station just before the outbreak of the Second World War, fleeing persecution.
Bond explained: “Paddington Bear was a refugee with a label – ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you’, and he had a little suitcase.”
In fact, during the current and ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, some people changed their social media photos to Paddington.
Bond’s legacy will live on with Paddington 2 scheduled for U.S. release in January 2018.
The official Paddington Twitter account posted this touching tribute video: