Jack Friedman

Jack Friedman died May 3 after being hospitalized for several weeks. He was 70.

Friedman was the founder and chairman of the board of JAKKS Pacific, a toy designing and marketing company based in Malibu.

“Jack was a legendary toymaker and a real titan in our industry,” JAKKS’ CEO Stephen Berman said in a written statement. “He dedicated his talents to JAKKS Pacific for 15 years, and he will be sorely missed. On behalf of all JAKKS employees, we send our sincere condolences to his wife Karen and his children for their loss.”

JAKKS’ Board of Directors issued a statement saying, “We are greatly saddened by the passing of Jack Friedman. He was a visionary leader who guided the company with wisdom and keen judgment. Toys were his passion, and his legacy will live on in JAKKS Pacific. We extend our sympathies to his family.”

Jack Friedman founded JAKKS Pacific in January 1995, and he served as its chairman and chief executive officer through March 31. Under his leadership, JAKKS has grown into a top U.S. publicly-traded diversified toy company. Before JAKKS, Friedman led LJN Toys until its sale to MCA in 1985, and then went on to form THQ, Inc. in 1989 and led it until 1995. With more than 50 years of toy industry experience, Friedman launched some of the most successful toys in history, including the first movie toys for “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” and was also a pioneer in the video game industry.

Friedman had recently retired from his regular duties at JAKKS Pacific to spend more time with his family.

A memorial service for Friedman will be held next week at the Malibu Jewish Center & Synagogue. The date and time have not yet been confirmed.

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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