Charles Lazarus, the man who founded Toys 'R' Us in 1948, has died, just days after the company went belly up.
After Lazarus returned from WWII, he realized quickly the baby boom generation was ripe for a cool, interactive toy superstore. Barbie Dolls, Hula Hoops and Slinkys were all the rage, and he had the idea to create a fun experience for kids and parents.
He experimented with a nondescript children's store, Children's Bargain Town, but then in '57 opened the first Toys 'R' Us in Maryland. Fast-forward ... at its height there were 1,600 stores around the world.
Toys 'R' Us just released a statement ... "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. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles' family and loved ones."