John Le Carré
Name at birth: David John Moore Cornwell
John Le Carré is the nom de plume of David Cornwell, an English author of literary spy novels with labyrinthine plots and an air of disillusionment. While in the British Foreign Service in the early '60s, Cornwell began writing novels. He wrote three books while in the spy business, but retired from service after the international success of his Cold War novel, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1963). He's churned out best-selling novels ever since and his themes of alienation and postmodern colonialism have brought comparisons to writer Graham Greene. Le Carré's trilogy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) and Smiley's People (1980) was the basis for the successful 1982 British television show (with Alec Guinness as Smiley). Films made of his novels include The Little Drummer Girl (1984, starring Diane Keaton), The Russia House (1990, starring Sean Connery), The Tailor of Panama (2001, starring Pierce Brosnan) and The Constant Gardener (2005, starring Ralph Fiennes).