The genial British author who created Paddington Bear, the polite, good-natured but disaster-prone little hero of children’s novels, picture and activity books, television series, and films, died at his home in London.
Michael Bond, the genial British author who created Paddington Bear, the polite, good-natured but disaster-prone little hero of children’s novels, picture and activity books, television series, and films, died at his home in London on Tuesday. He was 91.
The death was announced by his publisher, Harper Collins, which said that Mr. Bond had died after a short illness. It did not specify a cause.
Mr. Bond lived in the Maida Vale section of London, not far from Paddington Station, where his fictional creation’s story began. “Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform” were the first words of “A Bear Called Paddington,” published in Britain in 1958. The small brown bear is spotted at that station, seated on an old leather suitcase and wearing a tag that reads: “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” He has emigrated from “darkest Peru,” the Browns learn, because his aunt has gone into a home for retired bears in Lima.
The Browns take him home to 32 Windsor Gardens and give him a new life that includes their children, Judy and Jonathan; their housekeeper, Mrs. Bird; a grouchy neighbor, Mr. Curry; and a Hungarian-born antiques dealer, Mr. Gruber.
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Paddington, drawn by a half-dozen or so illustrators over the years, came to be known for his distinctive ensemble of blue duffel coat with toggle fastenings, floppy felt hat and red Wellington boots. The books have sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into at least 40 languages.
“I am constantly surprised by all the translations,” Mr. Bond was quoted as saying on an official website for his creation, “because I thought that Paddington was essentially an English character.”
Certainly the character participated in some typical British activities in his books. They included London theater, a cricket match, a visit to a waxworks museum, a riding competition and antiques shopping on Portobello Road. Paddington also had a known predilection for marmalade sandwiches. But most important, he is unfailingly polite with a strong sense of morality, and he always tries to do the right thing.
For Mr. Bond, the story began on Christmas Eve…