Figures from the worlds of film, television and literature are paying tribute to John le Carré, who has died at the age of 89.
The author of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Night Manager and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy passed away on Saturday (December 12) following a short illness.
“It is with great sadness that we must confirm that David Cornwell – John le Carré – passed away from pneumonia last Saturday night after a short battle with the illness,” a statement issued by le Carré’s family said.
“David is survived by his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Jane, and his sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon. We all grieve deeply his passing. Our thanks go to the wonderful NHS team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for the care and compassion that he was shown throughout his stay. We know they share our sadness.”
Jonny Geller, who served as le Carré’s agent, said in a statement that the late author was an “undisputed giant of English literature” who “defined the Cold War era and fearlessly spoke truth to power”.
— Jonny Geller (@JonnyGeller) December 13, 2020
Gary Oldman, who starred in the 2011 film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, said that le Carré “was many things. He was of course a very great author, the true ‘owner’ of the serious, adult, complicated, spy novel – he actually owned the genre…
“He was generous with his creativity and always a true gentleman. The true Spy Master of several generations has left us.”
Stephen King praised le Carré as “a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit” while Robert Harris said the news of the writer’s passing had left him “very distressed … one of the great post-war British novelists, and an unforgettable, unique character”.
The likes of Margaret Atwood, Stephen Fry and Florence Pugh have also paid tribute to le Carré – you can see a selection of the social media tributes to the late novelist below.
— Baz Bamigboye (@BazBam) December 13, 2020
John le Carre has passed at the age of 89. This terrible year has claimed a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 13, 2020
Very sorry to hear this. His Smiley novels are key to understanding the mid-20th century… https://t.co/iJzRW0MigT
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) December 13, 2020
Very distressed to hear this. One of the great postwar British novelists, and an unforgettable, unique character. My deepest condolences to Jane and all the family. https://t.co/wCHMccVbO4
— Robert Harris (@Robert___Harris) December 13, 2020
John le Carré … 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 –
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) December 13, 2020
— Armando Iannucci (@Aiannucci) December 13, 2020
No writer captured the cloak and dagger subterfuge of the Cold War better than John Le Carré. I interviewed him for 60 Minutes over 30 years ago, and I remember a sharp mind and penetrating eyes. His work will be read for generations. May he rest in peace. https://t.co/DOc5vZO8A4
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 13, 2020
John Le Carré. Nonpareil. Unbeatable. An absolute master. A genuinely great writer right till the end. We should all be so lucky to be so brilliant for so long.
— Chris Addison (@mrchrisaddison) December 13, 2020
We’re deeply saddened to learn of John le Carré’s passing. It was our privilege to bring one of the great author’s many works, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, to the big screen. pic.twitter.com/fQqUXKUh8r
— StudiocanalUK (@StudiocanalUK) December 13, 2020
So sad to hear of the passing of John Le Carre, one of our nations great postwar writers. I had the privilege of watching the late night results of the 1997 election with him in his Hampstead flat. How we cheered when Stephen Twigg beat Portillo in Enfield! RIP David Cornwall
— Tony Robinson (@Tony_Robinson) December 13, 2020