The Washington Post:
Eugene J. Polley, an electronics engineer who revolutionized American leisure by inventing the first wireless TV remote control, a gadget that also featured the first mute function to silence the more obnoxious sounds of television, died May 20 at a hospital in Downers Grove, Ill. He was 96.
Mr. Polley lived his entire life in the Chicago area, where he worked for Zenith Electronics for 47 years. Hired as a stock boy during the Depression, he eventually became an engineer with 18 patents to his credit.