Book publisher Larry Sloan, best known for the “non-book” and humor titles from Price Stern Sloan, the press he co-founded with comedy writers Leonard Stern and Roger Price in 1953, died in Los Angeles on October 14. He was 89.
After Stern and Price created the self-published Mad Libs humor series, Sloan, a publicist and high school friend of Stern’s, became a partner in what would become Price Stern Sloan. The company grew into the largest publisher on the West Coast at the time, with Sloan’s The Elephant Book, the World’s Worst Jokes series, and Droodles joining the PSS backlist of perennial bestsellers such as How to Be a Jewish Mother and more than 70 Mad Libs titles. In 1993 Sloan and Stern (Price had died a few years earlier) sold the company to the Putnam Berkley Group. More than 110 million copies of Mad Libs have been sold to date. Leonard Stern died in 2011.
Sloan moved to Los Angeles from New York after serving in World War II, and made a name for himself through the gossipy, table-hopping column he wrote for the Hollywood Citizen News. As a publicist Sloan represented a roster of Hollywood stars that included Mae West and Elizabeth Taylor.
Donations in Sloan's memory can be made to the ACLU.