Barbie Turns 50

03.09.09 | FL News Team

Barbie turns 50 years old today. Toy company Mattel is packing 2009 with parties and events to celebrate five decades of the fashion-icon doll.

Back in the early 1950s, a woman named Ruth Handler decided to create an adult-figured doll after witnessing her own daughter giving adult roles to the paper dolls that she played with. After suggesting the idea to Mattel, Ruth found inspiration in a German doll named Bild Lilli and on March 9th, 1959, Barbie was born.

It was on this date that Barbie, named after Ruth's daughter Barbara, made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York. Since then, over a billion Barbies are estimated to have been sold in over 150 countries. 

Barbie started out sporting a blonde ponytail and wore the top fashion styles of the time. From 1960s pill box hats to 1970s hippie shades, the accessories that Barbie adorned became fashion statements of their own.

Barbie figurines have also been created to replicate influential figures of pop culture and politics. A series of first lady Barbie dolls were made over the years as well as celebrity Barbies made to look like Cher, Kate Winslet, Scarlett O'Hara and more. 

Barbie has held numerous occupations - pilot, flight attendant, astronaut, rock star, race car driver, among others. She also has a number of friends and companions, including Ken, Midge and Christie. Her siblings include sisters Skipper, Stacie, Kelly, Krissy and twins Tutti and Todd.