Ruth Handler Net Worth

December 23, 2023
2 mins read

Ruth Marianna Handler (nee Mosco) was born on the 4th November 1916, in Denver, Colorado, USA, and was a businesswoman, inventor, entrepreneur, and writer, best known for inventing the Barbie doll in 1950s. Her career started in 1940s with the founding of Elzac, and she co-founded several other companies before her death in 2002.

Have you ever wondered how rich Ruth Handler was at the time of her death? According to authoritative sources, it has been estimated that Handler’s net worth was as high as $100 million, an amount earned through her successful career in business.


Ruth Handler Net Worth $100 Million


Ruth Handler was the youngest of ten children in the family of Polish Jewish immigrants. Her mother was Ida Mosco (nee Rubinstein) and her father was Jacob Mosco, a blacksmith who left Poland with his family in order to avoid serving in the Russian army. When she was only sixteen and in high school, she met the man who would become her husband and business partner, Elliot Handler. They moved to Los Angeles, California where he studied at the Art Center School of Design, and she found a job as a secretary at Paramount Studios. The couple’s first breakthrough in the world of business was the founding of Elzac, together with their financial partner Zachary. The company was active in the 1940s, and it produced figural costume jewelry brooches. Though the business grew quickly, the Handlers decided to move on to something more ambitious, and founded another company called Mattel, this time collaborating with designer Harold “Matt” Matson. They began with manufacturing picture frames, but soon moved on to toy business, making doll house furniture. Their net worth was already well established.

Ruth’s creativity and marketing genius were mostly responsible for launching Mattel into the giant it became in the 1950s. First, she took a different approach to marketing campaign for their toys, as instead of magazines and catalogues, Ruth suggested that they advertise on television. For that purpose, Mattel bought sponsorship of the new Disney program “The Mickey Mouse Club”, and subsequently saw their sales skyrocket. Next, Ruth realized that the toy market lacked adult-looking dolls for girls, who would then be able to play act their aspirations and desires for the future; so, the Barbie doll was born and presented to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York City in 1959. Mattel sold over 350 000 dolls that first year, and the demand only grew in the following year, thanks to their widespread television marketing. The Barbie world soon expanded, adding her boyfriend Ken and many other friends and family. The two main toys were named after the Handler’s children, Barbara and Kenneth.

However, the company ran into difficulties in the 1970s, with Ruth even being accused of fraud, for which she was sentenced to community service. The couple left Mattel after that, but Ruth soon founded a new company, this time manufacturing prosthetic breasts for mastectomy survivors, such as herself. She decided on that line of business after she saw that there were no realistic, quality offers of such prosthetics on the market. The company was called Ruthton, and it functioned successfully for many years, though it never reached the success of Mattel.

Apart from her career in business and marketing, Ruth also dabbled in writing, having written the film “Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World” (1987).

In later years, the Handlers lived a quiet life in California, until Ruth’s death in 2002, from complications following a colon cancer surgery. She was survived by her husband of sixty-four years, and two children.

Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

At NetWorthPost, we strive to provide our readers with in-depth profiles that offer valuable insights into the worlds of business, entertainment, and beyond. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, we bring to light the remarkable journeys and successes of individuals who inspire and captivate us.

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