The Indian In The Cupboard author Lynne Reid Banks dies aged 94

British author Lynne Reid Banks has died at the age of 94, her literary agent has said.

The novelist, known for writing books including children’s story, The Indian In The Cupboard, died of cancer “peacefully with her family around her” on Thursday afternoon, her agent James Wills told the PA news agency.

Her son Gillon Stephenson said that she “leaves a massive legacy of wonderful work” and added that everyday he “receives messages from people saying what a difference she has made”.

A Countess from Hong Kong – Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire
Lynne Reid Banks said she interviewed Charlie Chaplin during her time as an ITN news reporter (PA)

The author was born in Barnes, West London, in 1929 and was evacuated with her mother and cousin, Christopher, in 1940 during World War Two to Saskatoon in the Canadian prairies for five years.

Upon her return to England, Reid Banks attended Rada drama school before becoming a secretary and a freelance journalist.

In 1955, she became one of the first two female news reporters on British TV, appearing on ITN for six years where she interviewed stars including Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Louis Armstrong and Agatha Christie, she said on her website.

She said during her down-time from journalism she wrote a novel titled The L-Shaped Room which was an unexpected hit and was later turned into a film, landing star Leslie Caron an Oscar nomination for best actress, as well as a Bafta and Golden Globe award.

60th Venice Film Festival
Actress Leslie Caron won a Golden Globe and a Bafta award for her role in The L-Shaped Room (Myung Jung Kim/PA)

Caron played a young unmarried French woman planning a pregnancy termination, but later rejected the idea and instead rented an odd room in a boarding house where she falls in love with an aspiring actor.

In 1962, Reid Banks emigrated to Israel after meeting Liverpool-born sculptor Chaim Stephenson, whom she later married and shared three sons.

Returning to England in 1971, Reid Banks said she “stumbled upon the idea of bringing a toy plastic American Indian to life in a magic cupboard” for a children’s book.

The first book from her The Indian In The Cupboard series was released in 1980 and the fantasy story, about a boy whose toy has magically come to life, was turned into a film in 1995 starring actor and comedian, Steve Coogan and Richard Jenkins.

She wrote many children’s stories during her career, including The Red Red Dragon, Tiger Tiger, Angela And Diabola and picture book, The Spice Rack.