Barbie is the ultimate fashion doll for girls. It is manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler designed the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.
Barbie was not an immediate success. She did not catch on until Mattel invested heavily in advertising on the Disney Mickey Mouse Club. Barbie and her boyfriend Ken, who came along several years later, were named for Handler's two children.
A little-known fact is that Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, her parents' names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin