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Michael Bond
Bond with a Paddington Bear toy
Bond with a Paddington Bear toy
Born Thomas Michael Bond
(1926-01-13)13 January 1926
Newbury, Berkshire, England
Died 27 June 2017(2017-06-27) (aged 91)
London, England
Nationality British
Occupation Author
Years active 1945–2017
Notable work(s) Paddington Bear series
  • Brenda Mary Johnson (m. 1950–81)
  • Susan Marfrey Rogers (m. 1981–2017)
Children 2

Thomas Michael Bond CBE (13 January 1926 – 27 June 2017) was a British author. He is best known for a series of fictional stories for children, featuring the character of Paddington Bear. More than 35 million Paddington books have been sold around the world, and the characters have also appeared in a popular film series (featuring Paddington and Paddington 2 to date) and on television. His first book was published in 1958 and his last in 2017, a span of 59 years.

Early life

Thomas Michael Bond was born on 13 January 1926 in Newbury, Berkshire.[1] He was raised in Reading, where his visits to Reading railway station to watch the Cornish Riviera Express pass through started a love of trains. His father was a manager for the post office.[2] He was educated at Presentation College in Reading. His time there was unhappy. He told The Guardian in November 2014 that his parents had chosen the school "for the simple reason [that his] mother liked the colour of the blazers ... she didn't make many mistakes in life, but that was one of them". He left education aged 14, despite his parents' wishes for him to go to university.[2] The Second World War was under way and he went to work in a solicitor's office for a year, and then as an engineer's assistant for the BBC.[3]

On 10 February 1943[4] Bond survived an air raid in Reading. The building in which he was working collapsed under him, killing 41 people and injuring many more.[5][6] Shortly afterwards he volunteered for aircrew service in the Royal Air Force as a 17-year-old, but he was discharged after being found to suffer from acute air sickness.[7] He then served in the Middlesex Regiment of the British Army until 1947.[8]


Art installation depicting Bond in Saint Mary's Square, Paddington with Paddington Bear

Bond began writing in 1945, when he was stationed with the Army in Cairo, and sold his first short story to the magazine London Opinion. He was paid seven guineas and thought that he "wouldn't mind being a writer".[2] After he had produced several plays and short stories, and had become a BBC television cameraman (he worked on Blue Peter for a time), his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published by Collins in 1958. Barbara Ker Wilson had read his draft at one sitting and she then phoned Bond at the number given. She was put through to Lime Grove Studios. Bond had to tell her that he was not supposed to take calls at work.[9]

This was the start of Bond's series of books recounting the tales of Paddington Bear, a bear from "darkest Peru", whose Aunt Lucy sends him to England, carrying a jar of marmalade. In the first book the Brown family find the bear at Paddington Station, and adopt him, naming the bear after the station.[8] By 1965 Bond was able to give up his BBC job to work full time as a writer.[10]

Paddington's adventures have sold over 35 million books, have been published in nearly twenty countries, in over forty languages, and have inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, a movie and adaptations for television.[8][11] Bond stated in December 2007 that he did not plan to continue the adventures of Paddington Bear in further volumes,[12] but in April 2014 it was reported that a new book, entitled Love From Paddington, would be published that autumn. In Paddington, a 2014 film based on the books, Bond had a credited cameo as the Kindly Gentleman.[13]

Bond also wrote another series of children's books, telling of the adventures of a guinea pig named Olga da Polga, who was named after the Bond family's pet,[2] as well as the animated BBC television series The Herbs (1968).[14] Bond also wrote culinary mystery stories for adults, featuring Monsieur Pamplemousse and his faithful bloodhound Pommes Frites.[3]

Bond wrote Reflection on the Passing of the Years shortly after his 90th birthday. The piece was read by Sir David Attenborough, who also turned 90 in 2016, at the national service of thanksgiving to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday at St Paul's Cathedral in June 2016.[15] On 20 June 2016 StudioCanal acquired the Paddington franchise outright. Bond was allowed to keep the publishing rights to his series,[16] which he licensed in April 2017 to HarperCollins for the next six years.[17]

Television writing

Bond wrote two short films for the BBC: Simon's Good Deed, which was shown on 11 October 1955,[18] and Napoleon's Day Out, shown on 9 April 1957.[19] He also wrote one episode of the series The World Our Stage, an adaptation of the short story "The Decoration" by Guy de Maupassant, which aired on 4 January 1958.[20]

His best known television work is as the creator and writer of the children's television series The Herbs and The Adventures of Parsley, again for the BBC.[14][21]


Bond was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for services to children's literature, in the 1997 Birthday Honours[22][23] and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours.[24][25] On 6 July 2007 the University of Reading awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Letters.[26]

On 10 January 2018 GWR named one of their Class 800 trains "Michael Bond / Paddington Bear".[27]

Personal life

Statue of Paddington Bear in Paddington Station following Michael Bond's death.

Bond was married twice: to Brenda Mary Johnson in 1950, from whom he separated in the 1970s; and to Susan Marfrey Rogers in 1981. He had two children.[28] He lived in London, not far from Paddington Station, the place that inspired many of his books.[10][28]

Bond died in London on 27 June 2017, at the age of 91. The cause of death has not been disclosed. The film Paddington 2 (2017) was dedicated to his memory.[1] He is buried in Paddington Old Cemetery close to where he lived. The epitaph on his gravestone reads "Please look after this bear. Thank you."


Paddington Bear series

Olga da Polga series

Chapter books

Picture books

Monsieur Pamplemousse series

Other books


  • 1955 Simon's Good Deed (short film)[18]
  • 1957 Napoleon's Day Out (short film)[19]
  • 1958 The World Our Stage (one episode, "The Decoration")[20]
  • 1968 The Herbs (13 episodes)[14][21]
  • 1970–71 The Adventures of Parsley (32 episodes)[21]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Bond, Paddington Bear Creator, Is Dead at 91 The New York Times, 28 June 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pauli, Michelle (28 November 2014). "Michael Bond: 'Paddington stands up for things, he's not afraid of going to the top and giving them a hard stare'". London. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Obituary: Michael Bond" (in en-GB). BBC News. 28 June 2017. 
  4. "Air Raid, February 1943". Reading Museum. Reading Borough Council. 
  5. Midgley, Emma (13 February 2012). "Paddington Bear 'inspired by evacuees' says author Bond". BBC. 
  6. "Paddington Bear writer's wartime Reading Podcast now online". Reading Borough Council. 
  7. Michael Bond at jrank. Retrieved 2 November 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 "Paddington Bear author Michael Bond writes new book". BBC News. 9 April 2014. 
  9. "Barbara Ker Wilson obituary" (in en). ISSN 0140-0460. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington". 
  11. John Plunkett (22 January 2008). "BBC celebrates 50 years of Paddington". The Guardian. London. 
  12. Richard Lea (11 December 2007). "Paddington Bear faces questions on asylum status". The Guardian. London. 
  13. Lang, Kirsty (31 October 2014). "Paddington creator Michael Bond makes cameo in new film". BBC. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Michael Bond obituary". The Guardian. 28 June 2017. 
  15. "Attenborough to read Bond's tribute at Queen's birthday service". BBC News. 8 June 2016. 
  16. Keslassy, John Hopewell,Elsa (20 June 2016). "Studiocanal Acquires Paddington Bear Brand, Plans Third Paddington Movie". 
  17. "HarperCollins secures six-year publishing partnership for Paddington". 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Listings: 11 October 1955". BBC Radio Times. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 "Listings: 9 April 1957". BBC Radio Times. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "Listings: 4 January 1958". BBC Radio Times. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Adrian Gaster (1977). The International Authors and Writers Who's who. International Biographical Centre. p. 107. ISBN 9780900332456. 
  22. Archipelago, World. "Michael Bond". 
  23. "No. 54794". 13 June 1997. p. 10. 
  24. "The Queen's Birthday Honours 2015". Government of the United Kingdom. 
  25. "Birthday Honours 2015: Van Morrison and Kevin Spacey head list". BBC News. 13 June 2015. 
  26. Malvern, David (6 July 2007). "Oration presenting Michael Bond, OBE for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a Degree Congregation, 6th July 2007". University of Reading. 
  27. "Our named Intercity Express Trains". GWR. 10 January 2018. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Lambert, Victoria (31 August 2016). "Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond: 'I could have pasted my room with rejection slips. But I never gave up'" (in en-GB). The Telegraph. 
  29. Nicholas Lezard (19 January 2005). "Classic of the month: A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond". The Guardian. London. 
  30. "In praise of...Paddington Bear". The Guardian. London. 2 June 2008. 
  31. "Paddington's Finest Hour". HarperCollins. 
  32. Michael Bond's last Paddington Bear story out in 2018

External links

Template:Paddington Bear

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