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Robert F. MacLeod, 85; Football Star, Publisher

January 17, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Robert F. MacLeod, an All-American football player at Dartmouth College in the 1930s who went on to fashion a career in magazine publishing, has died. He was 85.

MacLeod died Monday at a care facility in Santa Monica of complications from a stroke he suffered just before Thanksgiving.

Born in Glen Ellyn, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, MacLeod was a standout on offense and defense (halfback) for the Dartmouth team coached by Earl "Red" Blaik. He was an All-American in 1937 and 1938. He placed fourth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 1938.

MacLeod was also a gifted basketball player. A shooting guard, he made the All-Eastern team at Dartmouth. He briefly played professional ball for the Chicago Bruins, his family said.

After his college football career, MacLeod was drafted first by the Brooklyn Dodgers, a former National Football League team. He was traded in the preseason to the Chicago Bears, where he played for legendary coach George Halas.

MacLeod played one season for the Bears before World War II, when he became a fighter pilot for the Marines, serving five years, mostly in the South Pacific. He was discharged with the rank of major.

After the war, MacLeod decided not to return to football and started a career in magazine publishing, first at Liberty magazine and then at the Hearst Corp. By the late 1950s, MacLeod was vice president and advertising director of 13 Hearst publications, including House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Popular Mechanics and Harper's Bazaar.

He left Hearst in 1961 to become publisher of Seventeen magazine. Two years later, he moved to California as marketing head of Subscription Television, an early cable/pay television enterprise that had little success.

MacLeod then joined Petersen Publishing Co. as editor and publisher of 'Teen magazine and quickly doubled its circulation. He was at 'Teen from 1963 until 1994.

Married three times and divorced twice, MacLeod is survived by his wife, Louise Jardine MacLeod of Malibu; sons Robert F. MacLeod Jr. of Malibu, Edward J. MacLeod of Madison, Conn., and Ian Dana MacLeod of Seattle; a daughter, Merrill MacLeod Stendeck of Glen Head, N.Y.; and 10 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday at Malibu Presbyterian Church. Instead of flowers, donations may be made to the Robert F. MacLeod Memorial Fund, Department of Athletics, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.

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