John Le Carré, the spy novelist, dies at 89

John le Carré, the British spy novelist behind dozens of works, including The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, died at the age of 89 in Cornwall, England.

Le Carré, who was born David Cornwell, died of pneumonia on the night of December 12, according to a statement from his editor.

“John le Carré was an undisputed giant of English literature. He defined the Cold War era and fearlessly spoke the truth to power in the decades that followed,” said Jonny Geller, CEO of The Curtis Brown Group and agent of le Carré. “I lost a mentor, an inspiration and, most importantly, a friend. We will not see him again.”

Le Carré worked as a British intelligence officer before writing the spy novels that dominated the lists of global bestsellers for decades – and led to various adaptations for films and TV.

He wrote his first three books while working for Britain’s MI5 and MI6, and became a full-time author after launching himself on the global stage with the publication of his third novel, The Spy Who Came From Cold, in 1963.

“From the day my novel was published, I realized that now and forever I would be marked as the spy who became a writer, instead of a writer who, like dozens of his kind, had made a pass in the secret world, and wrote about it, “le Carré wrote in a postscript of the 50th anniversary edition of the book. “The merit of the novel, then – or its offense, depending on where you stand – was not being authentic, but being credible.”

Le Carré himself seemed shocked at how credible people found the book. Writing in the Guardian in 2013, he recalled that the British government had examined the book and approved it as “pure fiction from start to finish” and therefore not a security breach.

Le Carré leaves his wife, four children, 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Writer, Producer, Actor
Biography: He was born in Poole, Dorset in England on October 19th, 1931. He went to Sherborne School and, later, studied German literature for one year at University of Bern. Later, he went to Lincoln College, Oxford and graduated in Modern Languages. From 1956 to 1958, he taught at Eton and from 1959 to 1964, he was a member of the British Foreign Service ... See full bio >>
Born: October 19, 1931 | Poole, Dorset, England, UK
Died: December 12, 2020 (age 89) | Truro, Cornwall, England, UK

Known For


Filmography