Is John le Carre in The Little Drummer Girl and did he make a cameo in The Night Manager or Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?

JOHN le Carre passed away from pneumonia aged 89, after writing some of the world's most popular espionage thrillers.

The award-winning writer, executive producer and former Security Service officer's books were turned into major films and acclaimed TV shows, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Who was John le Carre?

John le Carre, born David John Moore Cornwell, is a British author who has written well-known spy fiction books.

The 87-year-old worked for the Security Service and the Secret Intelligence Service.

He was the son of Ronald Thomas Archibald Cornwell who was one of the Kray twins' associates and eventually went to prison for insurance fraud.

He taught English at Eton from 1956-58, before joining the British Foreign Service.

The Oxford graduate left MI6 in 1964 to become a full-time author following The Spy Who Came In From The Cold becoming an international bestseller.

How did John le Carre die?

John le Carre passed away from pneumonia on Saturday December 12, 2020, at the age of 89.

His long term agent and representative, Jonny Geller, described him as an "undisputed giant of English literature" who "defined the Cold War era and fearlessly spoke truth to power".

In a statement, Geller said ”his loss will be felt by every book lover, everyone interested in the human condition".

It added: ”We have lost a great figure of English literature, a man of great wit, kindness, humour and intelligence. I have lost a friend, a mentor and an inspiration."

A statement shared on behalf of the author's family said: "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.

"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."

The family confirmed the author’s death was not Covid-19 related.

What books did he write?

He started writing in 1961 and published his first novel Call for the Dead (1961), in the same year that the Berlin wall went up.

The film later made into the film The Deadly Affair starring James Mason.

His second book was A Murder of Quality (1962), a detective novel set in a boy's school before publishing bestseller The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), the novel which brought him worldwide public attention, which tells the story of the last assignment of an agent who wants to end his espionage career.

He went on to publish many novels, including a series which features the character George Smiley: The Honourable Schoolboy (1977), Smiley's People (1980) and The Secret Pilgrim (1991).

Other novels, all of which have been made into successful films, incude The Looking Glass War (1965); The Little Drummer Girl (1983); The Russia House (1989); The Tailor of Panama (1996); and The Constant Gardener (2001).

Le Carré turned down literary honours and a knighthood, saying in a 2017 US interview that he was "so suspicious of the literary world that I don't want its accolades".

"And least of all do I want to be called Commander of the British Empire or any other thing of the British Empire," he added.q

He told CBS News' 60 Minutes: "I don't want to posture as someone who's been honoured by the state and must therefore somehow conform with the state, and I don't want to wear the armour."

Was John le Carre really a spy?

Yes, John le Carre worked as a spy for intelligence and security services.

He revealed details about his time in a rare TV interview in 2000, which was his first for 15 years.

Le Carre admitted he started working for the secret service when he was 16 and went on to become a senior undercover operative in West Germany at the height of the Cold War.

He first became involved with foreign intelligence after running away to Switzerland to escape the influence of his father, who was a conman that worked for the Kray brothers.

Le Carre met an MI6 official from the British consul and began running errands for him.
He returned to England after a year but maintained contact with the secret services while studying at Oxford University and teaching at Eton, before joining MI5 full-time.

He was then transferred to MI6 and spent several years "deep undercover" in West Germany.

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