BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- Alan Shalleck, who collaborated with the co-creator of ''Curious George" to bring the mischievous monkey to television and a series of book sequels, was found dead outside his home. He was 76.
Police said they were treating the death as a possible homicide. A maintenance man found the body Tuesday near Mr. Shalleck's mobile home. A police spokeswoman would not disclose details about how Mr. Shalleck died.
His death occurred just as ''Curious George" is debuting as a full-length feature film this Friday, featuring the voices of Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, and Dick Van Dyke. Mr. Shalleck did not have a role in creating the movie.
He was the writer and director of more than 100 short episodes of ''Curious George," which were seen on the Disney Channel.
The original series of seven Curious George books began in 1941, shortly after George's creators, H.A. Rey and his wife, Margret, fled to the United States from war-torn Europe. A precursor of the character had appeared in a book they did in France in 1939. Hans Rey did the illustrations and his wife wrote the stories.
Mr. Shalleck had approached Margret Rey about bringing Curious George to television in 1977, the same year her husband died. In addition to more than 100 five-minute TV shorts, Mr. Shalleck and Margret Rey wrote more than two dozen books about George.
''I got $500 per 'Curious George' story, no royalties, no residuals," Mr. Shalleck told the Palm Beach Post in 1997. But the experience of working with Margret Rey was the high point of his life, he added.
She died in 1996 at age 90. Mr. Shalleck said she and her husband identified with their readers because they were children at heart.
A Syracuse University drama major, Mr. Shalleck got his start in 1950 in the CBS mailroom, working his way to associate producer for ''Winky Dink and You," a show in which children drew on a plastic film placed on the TV screen. He later produced children's films and formed his own company.