Breaking News, May 3, 2010

Jakks Pacific Founder, Jack Friedman Dies at Age 70

Jakks Pacific just issued a statement about the passing of Jack Friedman, the company’s founder and chairman of the board, at age 70. Friedman died today, Monday May 3, after being hospitalized for several weeks.

Jakks’ CEO Stephen Berman issued this statement, “Jack was a legendary toymaker and a real titan in our industry. 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.”

In addition the 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. He served as its chairman and CEO through March 31, 2010. Under his leadership, the company has grown into a top 5 U.S. publicly-traded diversified toy company.

Prior to Jakks, he 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, making him a pioneer in the video game industry. 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.

Friedman was a generous philanthropist and supporter of the company’s Jakks Cares program, which has benefited organizations such as The Toy Industry Foundation, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, The Special Olympics, Feed the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Marine Toys for Tots and more. Under the program, the company has donated more than $40 million worth of toys and school supplies to children around the world.