Jack Ryan, 65; Inventor Of Missile And Of Toys, Including Barbie Doll
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Jack Ryan, who invented missiles for Raytheon and held patents on blockbuster toys like the Barbie doll for Mattel, has died.
Mr. Ryan, 65, died Aug. 13 at home following two years of severe debilitation caused by a massive stroke he suffered in 1989, a family spokesman said yesterday. Prior to his stroke, he had suffered a heart attack and undergone quintuple bypass surgery.
Mr. Ryan, who held more than 1,000 patents on inventions around the world, designed the Sparrow and Hawk missiles when he worked for Raytheon. But it was his toy inventions that put his engineering genius into households across the United States.
He served for a time as vice president of research and design for Mattel Inc., and worked several years as a self-employed consultant and inventor for the toy company.
Mr. Ryan designed some 35 of the country's best-selling toys, including the Chatty Cathy talking doll, Hot Wheels and many electronic toys.
But his best known product was Barbie, the tall, slender, young adult doll that could be purchased with a never-ending wardrobe, boyfriend Ken, and cars, playhouses and career paraphernalia.
Mr. Ryan applied part of the wealth he acquired from his inventions to a Tudor mansion in 1962 in the upscale Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles and turned it into a major Southern California party site. He and his then wife, Barbara, opened the grounds and public rooms of the vast mansion for charity
fund-raisers, annually hosting more than 150 events with as many as 1,000 guests each.
Mr. Ryan was married several times. One of his marriages was to Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Survivors include his wife, Magda, two daughters, Ann and Diana, and two granddaughters.
Private funeral services were planned.
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