2014: No More Toys R Us
Today Charles P. Lazarus, the founder of Toys R Us passed away at the age of 94 one week after the company announced that it was shutting down all U.S. operations. “There have been many sad moments for Toys R Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus,” the company said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.” Born on October 4, 1923 to a bicycle shop owner, Lazarus began his first business, Children’s Bargain Town in 1948. In 1957, the first Toys R Us store opened with the toys literally stacked from floor to ceiling to give the impression that they held an infinite supply and was one of the first toy stores to offer shopping carts. In 1965, Geoffrey the Giraffe became the company’s mascot. In 1990, Lazarus was inducted into the Toy Industry Association’s Hall of Fame. On January 20, 2019, the company clawed its way from bankruptcy under the banner Tru Kids Brands. Currently, there are only two locations open in the United States.
- 1903: Bill Holman (cartoonist)
- 1908: Louis L’Amour (author)
- 1912: Karl Malden (actor)
- 1930: Pat Robertson (pastor)
- 1931: William Shatner (actor)
- 1947: James Patterson (author)
- 1948: Wolf Blitzer (journalist)
- 1948: Andrew Lloyd Webber (composer)
- 1952: Bob Costas (sportscaster)
- 1957: Stephanie Mills (actress)
- 1959: Matthew Modine (actor)
- 1976: Reese Witherspoon (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.