Barbie through the years: Look back at some of her most iconic moments

A doctor, an astronaut, a teacher, a pilot – is there anything Barbie can’t do? 

Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts and she lives in the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin. The brainchild of Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband, Barbie would go on to become one of the most iconic toys in the world. 

Take a look at Barbie through the years and some of her historical firsts. 


FILE - The toy doll Barbie appears in her various incarnations at Leuralla NSW toy and railway museum, as the iconic doll approaches her 50th birthhday May 18, 2007 in Sydney, Australia.

Barbie is ‘born’

Barbie’s official birthday is March 9, 1959, which also marks the day she was first introduced to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York City. 

She wore her zebra-striped black-and-white swimsuit and oversized sunglasses and was sporting a beach-ready ponytail. 

Back then, Barbie was being sold for $3 a pop. 

Toy experts doubted Barbie

Experts in the toy industry originally said that Barbie’s appearance would not appeal to young girls, but they would soon be proven wrong. 

After Barbie was introduced in New York, Mattel sold 300,000 dolls in its first year. 

Barbie has a lot of jobs


FILE - A photo taken on March 10, 2016 in Paris shows a Barbie doll holding an electoral poster reading "Barbie for president", during the exhibition "Barbie, life of an icon" at the Museum of Decorative Arts, in Paris.  (MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP via Getty Images)

Barbie has had over 250 careers in her lifetime, according to Mattel.

She traveled to space in 1965 – four years before any man walked on the moon. She ran for president several times and she’s had a lucrative career in STEM. 

A fashion icon and muse

Several fashion designers have created looks for Barbie including Oscar de la Renta and Bob Mackie. 

She has even served as a muse for artists such as Andy Warhol and Peter Max. 

He’s just Ken


FILE - A portrait of Ruth and Elliott Handler, the couple who introduced the Barbie doll in 1959, holding a Barbie and Ken doll. (Getty Images)

Mattel introduced Barbie’s on-again, off-again longtime boyfriend, Ken Carson, in 1961. 

Ken was named after Handler’s (the co-creator of Barbie) son, according to Mattel. 

Also noteworthy, Barbie apparently had a rebound boyfriend at one point. Before Valentine’s Day in 2004, Mattel announced that Barbie and Ken were breaking up and introduced her new beau, Blaine, an Australian boogie boarder, according to 

The relationship didn’t last long, however, and Blaine was discontinued. 

Barbie’s Dreamhouse

First introduced in 1962, Barbie’s iconic pink house was another commercial success. According to Mattel, a Dreamhouse was sold every two minutes when it was first released.  

Most expensive Barbie ever sold

The most expensive Barbie on record, licensed by Mattel for Australian jewelry designer Stefano Canturi, netted $302,500 at auction — donated to breast cancer research. 

The poshest of all Barbies sported a necklace with real emerald-cut Australian pink diamonds.

National Toy Hall of Fame

Barbie was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.

‘Barbie’ film broke a record


FILE - A digital advertisement board displaying a Barbie movie poster is seen in New York, United States on July 24, 2023. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The "Barbie" movie, released in 2023 and directed by Greta Gerwig, shattered the first weekend record for a film directed by a woman.  

Ticket sales amounted to $162 million in North America, and it was a hit around the world, surpassing "Wonder Woman's" debut with over $337 million at the global box office.  

The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.