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Sir John Mortimer dies at 85

PUBLISHED: 14:05 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

LONDON - MARCH 11:  John Mortimer arrives at The Oldie Of The Year Award at  Simpson's-Inn on The Strand on March 11 2008, in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON - MARCH 11: John Mortimer arrives at The Oldie Of The Year Award at Simpson's-Inn on The Strand on March 11 2008, in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

HAMPSTEAD born writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer has died at the age of 85. The creator of Rumpole of the Bailey lost his fight against a long-term illness at 6am today. His wife and two daughters, including actress Emily Mortimer, were by his side a

HAMPSTEAD born writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer has died at the age of 85.

The creator of Rumpole of the Bailey lost his fight against a long-term illness at 6am today.

His wife and two daughters, including actress Emily Mortimer, were by his side at the family home in Buckinghamshire.

In a statement, his family said he had dies peacefully.

Sir John, who was born in 1923, won respect and acclaim as he juggled a legal career with his love of writing.

During the Second World War when he took on a role as scriptwriter with Pinewood Studios but after VE Day he joined his father's business in the legal profession.

He carved a hugely successful career as a barrister but still found time to write. His first radio play was broadcast in 1958. His most famous creation, Rumpole, was introduced to the world in the 1970s and led to further books and a major television series starring Leo McKern.

Biographer and friend Melvyn Bragg led the tributes to the much-loved writer, saying he had a "wonderful life, beginning and ending".


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