The JAKKS Pacific family is mourning the loss of the Company's founder and Chairman of the Board, Jack Friedman, age 70. Mr. Friedman died on Monday, May 3, 2010 after being hospitalized for several weeks.
JAKKS' CEO Stephen Berman said, "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."
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, 2010. Under his leadership, JAKKS has grown into a Top 5 US publicly-traded diversified toy company. Before 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. With more than 50 years of toy industry experience, Mr. 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.
Mr. Friedman was a generous philanthropist and supporter of the Company's JAKKS Cares(TM) 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 over $40 million worth of toys and school supplies to children around the world. In 2009, JAKKS Pacific was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the "Top 20 Corporate Philanthropists in Los Angeles," and as a "Power Player Philanthropist" by the Toy Industry Foundation.
Mr. Friedman recently retired from his regular duties at JAKKS Pacific to spend more time with his family. He will be missed by all who knew him.