The revered spy novel writer, real name David Cornwell, passed away aged 89 at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, after losing his battle with pneumonia.
Following news of his death, Oldman who was nominated for an Oscar for his turn in the 2011 adaptation of his novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – remembered him in a statement to Deadline, saying: “For me, John le Carre 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. All who follow are in his debt.
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“His characters were drawn deftly and deeply, nuances too many to count, and for me, inhabiting George Smiley remains one of the highpoints of my life. I got to know David a little bit, over conversations, lunches, and his visit to the set. Amazingly, he was always at the other end of the phone if we had a question, or needed a line or to confirm if a character might say something specific. He always had immediate answers. He was generous with his creativity, and always a true gentleman. The true Spy Master of several generations has left us. But George Smiley and the others live on. Thank you David.”
Stephen King also paid tribute to le Carre, writing on Twitter: “John le Carre has passed at the age of 89. This terrible year has claimed a literary giant and a humanitarian spirit.”
And presenter and author Stephen Fry added in his own tweet: “John le Carre … 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.”
Cornwell began writing thrillers under the pseudonym John le Carre in the late 1950s and released his debut, Call for the Dead, in 1961.
The story featured the first appearance of his most enduring character, George Smiley, who was also a part in his second novel, 1962’s A Murder of Quality.
Le Carre’s third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, helped turn him into a literary powerhouse, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy made him one of the world’s leading spy novelists during the Cold War.
He also wrote the critically acclaimed The Night Manager, The Constant Gardener, and Absolute Friends.
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