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Donald Levine, 'the father of G.I. Joe,' has died

AP Photo/Mike Groll

Former Hasbro executive Donald Levine, who was credited with developing the world’s first G.I. Joe action figure, died on Thursday from cancer, his wife Nan told The Associated Press today. He was 86 years old.

As head of research and development at the company, Levine moved the toy through production, working with his team to create the iconic action figure. An Army veteran who served in Korea, Levine led a team that included many other former military men; that led to the toy’s being outfitted in Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force garb. When G.I. Joe arrived on shelves in 1964, it sold for $4 and was hugely popular until opposition to the Vietnam War prompted parents to select less military-influenced toys for their children.

Since then, though, the toy has been reincarnated as a comic-book figure and even a movie franchise. Read more about Levine and the history of the G.I. Joe doll via the AP.