Creator of Beloved Childhood Icon Passes Away

america
June 28, 2017

Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington Bear—a friendly bear featured in several books and a 2015 film—passed away on Tuesday at the age of 91. 

His publisher, Harper Collins, announced his death early Wednesday. They shared that Mr. Bond died at his home after a short illness, but they did not specify a cause.

Those who grew up with Paddington Bear or saw the movie will remember that the lovable bear and his distinctive outfit—a blue duffel coat with toggle fastenings, floppy felt hat and red Wellington boots. The bear, who emigrated from “deepest, darkest Peru,” gets into various scrapes, but he always remains a good-natured and enjoyable character.

Since Bond published the first book in 1957, more than 35 million copies have sold worldwide, and the book has been translated more than 40 languages.

“I am constantly surprised by all the translations,” Mr. Bond wrote on his website, “because I thought that Paddington was essentially an English character.”

Bond got the idea for the beloved bear on Christmas Eve 1956 when he saw a “forlorn” toy bear sitting alone on a shelf at Selfridges department store. “He took the bear home as a stocking stuffer for his wife and soon began writing a story about it. After ten days he had a completed novel, which William Collins & Sons bought for £75,” says The New York Times.

Bond also wrote other children’s’ works, but he was best known for Paddington, especially after BBC produced a children’s show in the 1970s, which later aired on PBS, Nickelodeon, and HBO. A 2015 move with live actors and a computer animated Paddington increased Bond’s fame.

Bond is survived by his wife, Susan Marfrey Rogers, a daughter, Karen Jankel, and a son, Anthony. Please keep the family in your prayers as they deal with the loss of their beloved husband and father.