Stephen Slesinger (December 25, 1901 - December 17, 1953) was an American film, radio, and television producer, instigator behind the licensing industry, and the creator of comic strip characters. Born in New York, Slesinger attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School from September 1914 through June 1919. Then he went to Columbia University. After graduating from Columbia, Slesinger opened a business as a literary agent, eventually representing, Zane Grey, Hendrik Willem van Loon (the first winner of the Newberry Medal), and Andy Rooney. Slesinger acquired the sole and exclusive merchandising, recording, and television, and other trade rights to Winnie-the-Pooh from A. A. Milne in 1930. Over the following decades, Slesinger created the first Pooh doll, puzzle, board game, record, and many other products. He broadcast Winnie-the-Pooh as the first Sunday morning TV cartoon in the mid-1940s. Slesinger also acquired the merchandising rights to the character of Tarzan and created media and merchandising campaigns around characters such as Buck Rodgers, Blondie and Dagwood, and Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted. Slesinger created children's books, motion pictures, comic books, and many other products featuring these characters. After Slesinger's death, his widow, Shirley Slesinger Lasswell, took over the business.

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