Father of 'Barbie' -- Dead at 95

7/22/2011 8:43 AM PDT

Father of 'Barbie' Elliot Handler Dies -- Dead at 95

Elliot Handler -- a co-founder of the Mattel toy company -- the guy who NAMED the "Barbie Doll" -- has died ... TMZ has learned.

Handler's caretaker tells TMZ ... Elliot had a medical emergency last night ... and eventually died from heart failure.

Elliot's wife CREATED the Barbie Doll back in the '50s ... and Handler named the doll after their daughter Barbara.

Handler was 95-years old.