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Paddington Bear Creator Michael Bond Dies At 91

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The writer who created Paddington Bear has died. Michael Bond was behind the well-mannered-but-accident-prone bear.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In 1958, readers first discovered the bear sitting on his suitcase at a London train station, having smuggled himself from, quote, "deepest, darkest Peru."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Reading) I'm not really supposed to be here at all. I'm a stowaway. I came all the way in a lifeboat, and I ate marmalade. Bears like marmalade.

INSKEEP: Of course.

MARTIN: That's a reading from the first book in Michael Bond's series. Paddington and his adopted family later starred in a TV series and a movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "PADDINGTON")

HUGH BONNEVILLE: (As Henry Brown) You need a proper guardian.

BEN WHISHAW: (As Paddington) What's that?

SALLY HAWKINS: (As Mary Brown) It's a grown-up who takes you into their home, looks after you.

WHISHAW: (As Paddington) Like you?

HAWKINS: (As Mary Brown) Yes, well, I suppose so.

INSKEEP: Paddington's creator was a veteran of World War II. He was in Cairo when he wrote his first story in 1945. In later years, he was working as a BBC cameraman when he thought of Paddington.

MARTIN: He was inspired by a single stuffed bear for sale in a store. A few years before his death at 91, Bond said Paddington's story resonates in a time of refugee crises.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MICHAEL BOND: Paddington in a way is a refugee. And I think his label saying please look after this bear is a very important ingredient.

MARTIN: Author Michael Bond did look after that bear through 14 Paddington books.

(SOUNDBITE OF BOYFRIENDS' "SIZE TEN SHUFFLE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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