The prolific espionage author John le Carré died December 12, 2020, from pneumonia, following a short bout of illness unrelated to COVID-19. John le Carré, real name David Cornwell, is considered a classic spy fiction author with bestselling novels such as The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, several of which were made into box-office movies like The Constant Gardener, The Tailor of Panama and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
David Cornwell was born in Poole, Dorset, in 1931. After school, he went on to study at the university of Bern, in Switzerland, and then moved to Oxford before beginning a career in undercover intelligence. Next, he taught for two years at Eton before transferring to the British Embassy in Bonn after joining the Foreign Office. His time in Bonn, while working in the intelligence records department, gave him a deep look into how the Secret Service operated.
In 1961, he had his debut work published under the title Call For The Dead. Since becoming an author was aside from his official job as a Foreign Office official, he had to write his book under a pseudonym. Hence, he chose his pen name John le Carré, which remained with him until his death.
Countless writers, former colleagues, political, historical, and even entertainment public figures, paid tribute online to this prolific author.
Stephen King tweeted,
This terrible year has claimed a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit.
Historical thriller writer Robert Harris noted that
[he was] one of the great post-war British novelists” and “an unforgettable, unique character.
Richard Moore (Chief of the UK Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) said on Twitter,
A giant of literature who left his mark on #MI6 through his evocative & brilliant novels. My thoughts are with his family, friends & fans.
Author Stephen Fry also said,
if there is a contemporary writer who’s given me richer pleasure I can’t for the moment name them. I suppose the best one can do to honour his great life & talent is go back to “Call For The Dead” and reread all his books. The very opposite of a chore.
Minister for Foregin Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde, tweeted,
In January #JohnLeCarre came to Stockholm to receive the 2019 Olof Palme Prize: “In the spirit of Olof Palme, David Cornwell thus gives an extraordinary contribution to the necessary fight for freedom, democracy and social justice”. It was a great moment to be able to meet him.
Novelist Kim Sherwood also said,
Goodnight literary grandfather.
a title which really befitted this unforgettable classic figure.
Rest in Peace, John le Carré, you will be missed.