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Happy birthday Barbie: Iconic doll turns 55--Top 10 facts

She has been a subject of praise, an object of ridicule, and the center of controversy, but no matter how many issues adults try to blame on Barbie, most little girls still love her. Now the pink plastic princess is turning 55 on March 9, 2014.

First 1959 Barbie doll
Target press kit
The Sports Illustrated Barbie doll celebrates the doll's 55th year
Press kit

Barbie Turns 55

No doubt this will bring out the usual flurry of silly cartoons of droopy, dowdy, overweight and frumpy Barbies with all the afflictions the unenlightened think women of 55 must suffer from, but the rest of us can celebrate the fun and inspiration the doll has brought.

Top 10 Barbie Facts

Here are ten Barbie facts to help you celebrate her 55th birthday:

  1. The doll was the creation of Mattel's Ruth Handler and named after Ruth's daughter, Barbara.
  2. Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  3. Barbie first appeared in a black and white striped one piece swimsuit in 1959. The doll cost $3.
  4. The doll was patterned after the German Bild Lilli. Mattel acquired the rights to the Bild Lilli doll in 1964 and stopped production of the German doll.
  5. Her boyfriend Ken Carson was introduced in 1961, named after Ruth's son, Ken.
  6. She is from the fictional town of Willows, Wisc. where she attended Willows High School.
  7. She has five sisters: Skipper, Stacie, Chelsea, Kelly and Tutti, plus brothers Todd and Ricky.
  8. Barbie's best friend, Midge, was introduced in 1963.
  9. Barbie's first pet was a horse named Dancer. Since then she has had more than 50 pets.
  10. The doll has more than 130 careers through the years, from teenage fashion model to president and full circle to her most recent career as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model.

55th Anniversary Barbie Doll

Since the Sports Illustrated Barbie released just in time for Barbie's 55th birthday and wears the signature black and white stripes of most anniversary editions, the SI Barbie is apparently also doing double duty as the 55th anniversary Barbie doll.

Happy 55th birthday, Barbie, and many happy returns!

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