John le Carré: British bestselling author died at the age of 89

John le Carré
British bestselling author died at the age of 89

John le Carré in 2016 at the Berlinale.

© imago / Future Image

The British writer John le Carré died at the age of 89. Le Carré became a bestselling author because of his spy novels.

British bestselling author John le Carré has died at the age of 89. His publisher Penguin Books announced this in a statement on Sunday evening. Accordingly, he died of pneumonia on Saturday. Le Carré leaves his wife Jane, with whom he was married for 45 years, four sons, fourteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

David Cornwell, his real name, became a celebrated writer from the 1960s onwards for his numerous spy novels. He himself previously worked for the British secret services MI5 and MI6 and let his personal experience flow into the works. His breakthrough came with the novel "The Spy Who Came From the Cold", which was made into a film in 1965.

Again and again he let his fictional character George Smiley appear as an agent in his books as the protagonist. Smiley, played by Gary Oldman (62), had his best-known screen appearance in the 2011 film "Dame, König, As, Spion". The template for the celebrated thriller "A Most Wanted Man" with Philip Seymour Hoffman ( 1967-2014), Rachel McAdams (42) and Herbert Grönemeyer (64) from the pen of le Carré.