Michael Bond, the creator of the much-adored Paddington Bear, died on Tuesday, according to media reports. He was 91 years old.
Bond is famous for his books about a marmalade-loving bear who moves to London from Peru.
Since Paddington’s creation in 1958, Bond had written more than 150 books about Paddington, had multiple children’s TV series based on his characters, a Paddington movie in 2014, and a second Paddington movie due to be released later this year.
Paddington has continued to influence every new generation since he was first introduced. Bond once explained the appeal of his artistic creation:
“Paddington is eternally optimistic and always comes back for more, no matter how many times his hopes are dashed,” he said. “It’s simply the joy of a little bear who is an outsider getting into scrapes and mishaps – always with the best of intentions – and coming out on top every time.”
Well wishes have been flooding in from fans and praising Bond for his lifelong work since the news of his passing broke. Charlie Redmayne, chief executive officer of HarperCollins, said Bond was “one of the great children’s writers” who had left “one of the great literary legacies of our time.”
Here are 11 facts about the beloved children’s author:
1. Bond based Paddington Bear partially off his father, a manager for the post office.
2. As a child, Bond never went to sleep without a bedtime story.
3. Bond left school at the age of 14 because of abusive teachers at the religious school he attended.
4. Bond’s first job was at age 15, working at a transmitter facility owned by BBC.
5. Bond narrowly survived a German bombing when four bombs were dropped on the building where he was working.
6. 1943 was the first time Bond realized he wanted to be a writer. At the time, he was stationed in Egypt for the army, and he submitted a story to the London Opinion magazine.
7. Bond worked as a BBC cameraman before he started writing full-time.
8. The Paddington character was inspired by a teddy bear that Bond bought for his wife when he spotted it on a shelf in a shop window near Paddington Station in London. A Bear Called Paddington was written shortly after.
9. The label around Paddington’s neck that reads, “Please look after this bear. Thank you,” is inspired by the evacuation of children from British cities during the Second World War. Each evacuated child was required to wear identifying labels around his or her neck.
10. Other famous characters Bond created included Sage the Owl, Sir Basil, and Lady Rosemary, Olga da Polga, and Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound, Pommes Frites.
11. Bond’s Paddington Bear books sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 40 languages.
[Image Credit: Youtube | The Telegraph]