Creator of Paddington Bear dies, aged 91

The creator of the children's literary character Paddington Bear, Michael Bond, dies after suffering from a short illness.
Mr Michael Bond said a teddy bear he spotted in his flat was the inspiration for Paddington.
Mr Michael Bond said a teddy bear he spotted in his flat was the inspiration for Paddington.

LONDON • The creator of Paddington Bear, a marmalade- loving refugee from Peru who entertained generations of children with his exploits in London, has died at the age of 91.

Mr Michael Bond, who named his bear after the London railway station where Paddington arrived, died following a short illness, his publisher HarperCollins said yesterday.

Wearing a tag on his coat that read "Please look after this bear", Paddington came from "deepest, darkest Peru" in Mr Bond's 1958 story "A Bear called Paddington".

Mr Bond said the inspiration for the character came when he spotted a teddy bear in his flat, and wondered what would happen if a real bear landed at Paddington Station.

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"I wrote it to please myself," he told the BBC in 2014. "In 10 days I had what turned out to be a book on my hands," he said.

"Paddington is very real to me."

The bear's adventures and mishaps in England were detailed in more than 20 books, the last of which, Paddington's Finest Hour, was published in April.

Ms Ann-Janine Murtagh, executive publisher at HarperCollins children's books, said Mr Bond was a true gentleman.

"He will be forever remembered for his creation of the iconic Paddington, with his duffle coat and wellington boots, which touched my own heart as a child and will live on in the hearts of future generations," she said yesterday.

More than 35 million of his books have been sold, the publisher said. A TV series was made in the 1970s, and Paddington, a film based on the character, was released in 2014.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2017, with the headline 'Creator of Paddington Bear dies, aged 91'. Print Edition | Subscribe