|Kenneth R. Handler was born March 22, 1944, to Elliott & Ruth Handler, co-founders (1948) of MATTEL toy company. It was Kenneth Handler who was the namesake ('Ken') of mate of toy icon "Barbie", who was also namesake to real-life sister Barbara 'Barbie' Handler.|
Ken Handler, married and a father of three, was a New York real estate investor and philanthropist. It was in 1982, he and wife Suzie moved to Manhattan, where they lived on Central Park
A gifted musician, Kenny played several instruments, was very well read, and pursued many endeavors. He often performed feats on the piano, but seldom for public audiences. He was, "A real gentleman. The kind of guy you found in the last century, not this one."
Handler even dabbled in filmmaking, writing, directing and producing a low-budget film, "Delivery Boys" (1985), about a group of pizza delivery boys who like break dancing.
He told People magazine in 1989 that 'Ken is Malibu. He goes to the beach and surfs. I was the kind of kid who played piano and went to movies with subtitles. All the girls thought I was a jerk.' Handler even thought "Barbie should care about more than going to the beach and having a good time. "She should care about poverty and suffering in the world".
A philanthropist, it was for one charity, while on an expedition to Africa with this group, reportedly he somehow contracted encephalitis. It was after this trip, Handler fell in a coma for a few weeks.
Ken Handler died of a brain tumor on June 11, 1994. He was only 50, leaving behind wife Suzie, and three children. He died the afternoon of his daughter's wedding - as Jewish tradition holds, a wedding does not stop, even for the death of a father. Handler was buried beside his paternal grandparents. Years after his death, parents Ruth (d.2002) and Elliot (d.2011) were later buried beside their beloved son.