Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Watch: Bill Paxton Swears He's 'Not a Nice Guy' (Yeah, right...), Plus the Young Stars of Mean Dreams Talk About Their Big Breaks
- Read the Cover Story: Céline Dion: 'I Lost the Love of My Life'
- Are Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd Expecting Their First Child?
- WATCH: Blake Shelton Tries Sushi for the First Time and It's Hilarious
- FROM EW Jay Z Mentions Beyoncé's Lemonade on New 'All the Way Up' Remix
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- May 13, 2002
- Vol. 57
- No. 18
Bringing Up Barbie
Ruth Handler Decided to Give Playthings Some Grown-Up Pizzazz—and Gave Birth to the World's Most Popular Doll
Maybe that's because as a career woman, Barbie could never top her maker. Handler, who died at 85 on April 27 of complications from colon surgery, revolutionized the toy trade with the busty billion-seller, launching an American icon and an empire for the Mattel toy company. Says daughter Barbara Segal, 60: "She was a dynamic lady ahead of her time."
The daughter of Polish immigrants, the Denver native co-founded Mattel with her industrial-designer husband and another partner in 1945. Barbie was born in 1959 after Handler, the firm's marketing whiz, noticed her daughter preferred adult paper dolls to baby dolls. Using a curvy German figurine (a spinoff from a salacious cartoon) as a model, Handler named the 11½-in blonde after Barbara. Beau Ken (named for Handler's son, who died in 1994) followed in 1961. But Barbie stayed a working woman. "My whole philosophy," Handler wrote, "was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be."
Handler rebounded from '70s woes—she battled breast cancer, then was ousted from Mattel over charges of accounting fraud—with another creation: a line of realistic prosthetic breasts she developed after undergoing a mastectomy. Says her husband: "She was brilliant and brave."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!