Barbie’s Designer Was Pervy

Barbie has had a rather controversial past that has centered around her physique and her impact on young girls. But the past of Barbie toy designer Jack Ryan is juicier than any compromising position you may have put Barbie and Ken in when you were younger. In Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel, out next month, Jerry Oppenheimer reveals that Ryan was a “full-blown seventies-style swinger” with “a manic need for sexual gratification.” Ryan seemed to view Barbie as much, more than a cash cow, but an object of desire. He would talk about creating his masterpiece in very skeevy detail: “It was like listening to somebody talk about a sexual episode, almost like listening to a sexual pervert,” according to one of Oppenheimer’s sources. Ryan even surrounded himself with busty Barbie clones like Gwen Florea, who was the “voice of Barbie” for a line of talking dolls. “He once said to me he loved me being tall so he could stick his nose in my boobs when he hugged me,” says Florea in the book. Ryan even paid for his innumerable girlfriends to undergo cosmetic surgery that would make them resemble the doll.

The toy designer even took phone calls at Mattel from a madam. He was a frequent customer of high-class escorts to average streetwalkers, including a “very thin and child-like” hooker. He was known for staging orgies at his Bel Air mansion, which had a black fox-lined dungeon.

Even Zsa Zsa Gabor, who Ryan supposedly married for her Barbie-like appearance, told Oppenheimer that she knew marrying Ryan was a mistake when he tried to bribe a tour guide to fulfill his husbandly duties on their honeymoon. Ryan eventually succumbed to the depression that afflicted him his entire life and fatally shot himself in 1991. [Lemondrop, New York Post]