Donald Levine, the Hasbro executive credited for creating G.I. Joe – the world’s first action figure – has died. He was 86.
Levine died of cancer Thursday at Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, reports The Associated Press. He and he wife, Nan, were preparing to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.
Levine, an Army veteran who served in Korea, got the idea for a moveable figure as a way to honor soldiers. As the head of research and development at Hasbro, he and his team developed the 11 1/2-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts.
G.I. Joe arrived in stores in time for the 1964 Christmas season, selling for $4 apiece.
The action figure inspired G.I. Joe comic books, animated series, and two movies starring Channing Tatum.
Levine’s “influence on the toy industry was profound,” Hasbro said in a statement. “His work forever changed the way kids play with toys, and in particular helped birth the G.I. Joe brand which has been a part of the American fabric for 50 years.”