Barbie, the Ultimate California Blonde, Turns 50 Today
Of course, a lady never reveals her true age, but when it comes to pop culture icons, sometimes it's hard to hide a milestone.Barbie has been a cherished and coveted toy for children--and collectors--since she was "born" fifty years ago today at the American International Toy Fair. Barbie, with her impossible curves and sunshine-kissed blonde hair, was named for the daughter of her creator, Ruth Handler, who ran toy company Mattel with her husband Elliot until a financial scandal forced them to leave their posts in the late 1970s.
Barbie, nee Barbara Millicent Roberts, is said to hail from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin, and attended both Willows High and Manhattan International High in New York City. For most of her life she's been paired with Ken Carson (he debuted in 1961 and was named for the Handler's son), although the couple split in 2004, they seem to have reconciled in 2006 (that's over 40 years together!). Barbie has had hundreds of careers in the course of her doll-hood, and has enjoyed the spoils of fictitious wealth as evidenced by her fleet of expensive vehicles and palatial homes.
Lest anyone accuse the half-century old icon of being exclusive, her circle of friends over the years has been strategically widened to include Hispanic Theresa, African American Christie and Steven, and many other politically correct companions. On her 49th Birthday last year, LAist took a look at the many ways Angelenos could celebrate Barbie's life for themselves here in our fair (-haired?) city. And, yes, as the epitome of "plastic surgery" she has had some work done; her waist has been widened and her eyes set to face forward, among other adjustments over the years.