The Barbie Doll, introduced in 1959, has a back story: Barbie’s real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, named after creator Ruth Handler’s real-life daughter. Handler reportedly came up with the idea for a three-dimensional fashion doll while watching her daughter play with paper dolls that she gave various careers. Barbie was the first doll to have aspirational careers — more than 150 in all — including politician, astronaut and rock star. Barbie’s boyfriend, the Ken Doll, debuted in 1961 and is named after Ruth Handler’s real-life son Ken.
More about Barbie:
- Barbie's official hometown is the fictional Willows, Wisconsin.
- As of 2014, there had been six US presidential candidate versions of the Barbie Doll, starting in 1992 and continuing for the next five elections.
- Since the Barbie Doll’s initial production by Mattel in 1959, the toy has remained a best-seller. In its first year, about 300,000 of the dolls were sold. As of 2014, Barbie was available in more than 150 countries, with a doll being bought an estimated once every three seconds worldwide.