Lee Wagner, 83; Founding Owner of TV Guide Magazine

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Lee Wagner, founding owner of TV Guide, has died in Rancho Mirage, where he retired 30 years ago. He was 83.

Wagner died Sept. 7 at Eisenhower Memorial Hospital, his brother Sidney said. Sidney Wagner said his brother had suffered a stroke several years ago and died of its complications.

An attorney, Wagner was circulation director of McFadden Publications in New York in the 1930s, where he directed subscriptions and street sales of Liberty, Screenland, Silver Screen and Movie Show magazines. He later worked for Cowles Media Co., publisher of Look and other magazines.


In 1948 he founded TV Guide-New York, later adding regional editions for New England and Baltimore-Washington areas.

He sold the editions to Walter Annenberg’s Triangle Publications in 1953, but remained as a consultant until 1963, when he retired to Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs.

In addition to his brother, Wagner is survived by his wife, Esta.