Game industry veteran Jack Friedman, who founded THQ, LJN, and most recently Jakks Pacific, passed away today at the age of 70 after being hospitalized for several weeks.
Friedman founded toy company and video game publisher LJN (Friday the 13th, X-Men) in 1970, but left a couple years after MCA acquired a majority interest in the company and began publishing licensed games for the NES.
In 1989, he founded THQ Inc. in Calabasas, California, investing $1 million of his own money into the publisher. He served as chief executive and president there until he left to found toy company Jakks Pacific in 1995.
During his fifty years of history in the toy and video industry, Friedman launched a number of successful toys, including the first movie toys for E.T.
He was also a philanthropist and supporter of his company's Jakks Care program, which has donated more than $40 million worth of toys and school supplies, and benefited organizations like The Special Olympics, Feed the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and more.
Friedman retired from his duties at Jakks Pacific, where he was chairman and CEO until a month ago, to spend more time with his family.
"Jack was a legendary toymaker and a real titan in our industry," says Jakks CEO Stephen Berman. "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."