The action figure industry has lost an icon with the passing of Stanley Weston.
A native of Brooklyn, Weston served in the Army for a stint following the Korean War. Upon his return to New York, he began working for advertising firm McCann Erickson. The talented ad-man soon started off on his own path, eventually creating his own company titled Weston Merchandising.
Noting the massive success of Mattel’s Barbie doll line in the ’60s, Weston realized that a similar product for boys was an untapped concept. With the help of his veteran roots, he developed the idea of a military action figure. In 1963, Weston sold to Hasbro what would later be recognized as G.I. Joe. His plethora of contributions to the industry, however, didn’t stop there.
Weston went on to create ThunderCats, which just like Joe evolved beyond toy shelves to become an animated phenomenon. His company (later renamed Leisure Concepts Inc.), worked alongside properties including Star Wars, WWE, and The Legend of Zelda, as well as representing hit television programs such as Alf and Welcome Back, Kotter.
In 1989, Weston was among those inducted into the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, whose members now also include the likes of Walt Disney, Jim Henson and George Lucas.
Weston, who was 84 at the time of his death, is survived by his brother, three children and five grandchildren.