London, Mar 10 (ANI): She may be the icon for millions of young girls, but the inspiration behind Barbie's creation was actually a saucy German adults-only doll, it has emerged.
As Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday this week, many of her sexy secrets have been revealed, reports The Sun.
According to the Barbie legend created by makers Mattel, she was born Barbara Millicent Roberts in Wisconsin on March 9, 1959.
But her real story is credited to the wife of Mattel co-founder Elliot Handler- Ruth Handler found that their young daughter Barbara, also known as Barbie, was playing with cut-outs of teenagers and women instead babyish dolls.
Thus, Ruth realised there was a gap in the market for a teenage doll, but her husband and advertising executives at Mattel dismissed the idea.
Later, in 1956, during a holiday in Europe Ruth came across a 12in German fashion doll called Bild Lilli, which was inspired by the success of a sassy cartoon character in the popular Bild newspaper.
The dolls were considered unsuitable for children and marketed to adults, but Ruth was so impressed with the doll that she bought three of them.
While she gave one of them to her daughter, she took the other two to show Mattel bosses.
After three years, when Ruth had renamed her new doll, Barbie was launched at the American Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959.
In the first year, Mattel sold 300,000 of the blonde and brunette dolls at three dollars a time.
And now, Barbie's annual global sales are worth 2.3billion pounds.
In 1964 Mattel bought the rights to Lilli and immediately stopped production, reducing Barbie's inspiration to a collector's item. (ANI)