HOLLYWOOD HILLS—Celebrated spy novelist, John le Carre’, whose real name is David Cornwell, died of pneumonia on Saturday, December 12, at the age of 89.
His family put out a statement indicated that he passed away Saturday night of pneumonia at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in England and “David is survived by his beloved wife of almost fifty years, Jane, and his sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon.”
Jonny Geller, Le Carre’s literary agent and CEO of the Curtis Brown Group said in a statement:
“John le Carre’ was an undisputed giant of English literature. He defined the Cold War era and fearlessly spoke truth to power in the decades that followed…I represented David for almost 15 years. I have lost a mentor, an inspiration and most importantly, a friend. We will not see his like again.”
Le Carre’s career spanned 58 years mainly writing about the Cold War whose novels were international bestsellers and adapted into film & television, such as “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” “The Constant Gardener,” and “The Night Manager,” according to his publisher.
Before he was an acclaimed novelist, he was a British intelligence officer for MI5 and MI6. While he was working as an intelligence officer, he debuted his most acclaimed novel, “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold,” in 1963, which was successful for him to write full-time as an author.
While he is best remembered as a spy novelist, he published numerous works on other topics, such as the pharmaceutical company in “The Constant Gardener,” the weapons trade in “The Night Manager,” and on war in “A Most Wanted Man.”
Le Carre’ was awarded the Olof Palme Prize in 2020 for his “engaging and humanistic opinion-making in the literary form regarding the freedom of the individual and the fundamental issues of mankind,” according to the Olof Palme organization. The Curtis Brown Group has said of le Carre’s acceptance of Olof Palme prize that “John le Carre’ has made a major and profoundly necessary contribution to the international fight for freedom, democracy, and social justice.”
He has sold over 60 million copies from his 25 novels and also wrote a memoir. He has had a large impact on the literary world, as well as Hollywood from his exploration of a dark world made possible by his experience and imagination.
According to a postscript from le Carre’ in a 50th anniversary edition of ‘The Spy Who Came In From The Cold’, he wrote “From the day my novel was published, I realized that now and for ever more I was to be branded as the spy turned writer, rather than as a writer who, like scores of his kind, had done a stint in the secret world, and written about it.”