Creator of GI Joe and Action Man Donald Levine dies aged 86

27 May 2014
imports_CCGB_1069-l_18715.jpg Creator of GI Joe and Action Man Donald Levine dies aged 86
Hasbro's ex head of research and development known as the "father of GI Joe". ...
Creator of GI Joe and Action Man Donald Levine dies aged 86 Images
Some sad news over the weekend, Donald Levine, the Hasbro executive credited for creating the famous GI Joe toy - known over here as Action Man - died on 22nd May, aged 86. While working as Hasbro's head of research and development in the '60s, Levine guided the industry's first action figure through the design and development process.

Along with his team, he created an 11.5-inch articulated figure with 21 moving parts and because many of the firm's employees were ex-military, they decided to outfit the toy in the uniforms of the US Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, along with releasing accessories like guns, helmets and vehicles. Levine, who had previously served in the Army in South Korea, said he got the idea for the moveable figure as a way to honour veterans.

GI Joe first hit the toy shop shelves just in time for the 1964 Christmas shopping season and only cost $4. The GI Joe brand was licensed to Palitoy in the UK who began producing copies of the figures in 1966 under the name Action Man. By the 1970s both series featured lifelike hair and kung fu grip and had a range of non-military outfits, such as space gear and scuba diving equipment.

Hasbro said in a statement that Levine's "influence on the toy industry was profound and his work forever changed the way kids play with toys, and in particular helped birth the GI Joe brand, which has been a part of the American fabric for 50 years".

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