Editor’s Note, from Gary Symons, editor at The Licensing Letter.
It is with sadness that we at TLL heard the news of our friend and colleague Richard Gottlieb passing away. The CEO at Global Toy Experts and Global Toy News was among the very first people to call me when I started working at The Licensing Letter.
Richard was incredibly knowledgeable about the industry, so I felt lucky to form a loose partnership with him, sharing stories on occasion, or providing our mutual expertise on various products. Some would view us as competitors in the industry, but Richard was never less than a friend and a helping hand whenever we needed it.
Sadly, Richard passed away last month, something we just learned today when we read the news in Global Toy News. We are including that memorial story in its entirety below, written by his wife Wendy Levey.
Global Toy News Mourns the Loss of founder Richard Gottlieb
10/1/1947 – 10/26/2023
On Oct. 26 Richard lost his battle with ALS, which he had fought for roughly two years. He slogged through language slurring, then no language and using an electronic voice, then a feeding tube to eat and finally in the last few weeks deep double pneumonia that was too much for him to overcome. Throughout the ordeal, he maintained his sense of humor, saying when asked to do a chore, “I have a disease, you know” and never lost his interest in others.
Born in Hampton, Virginia, he went to the University of Richmond and then started with Southern Distributers in 1971, he was with them until 1984 when he joined Western Publishing Company and traveled all over the United States selling books and other products. In 1990 he went to Cadaco and then in 2004 he moved to New York City and launched Global Toy News in 2007 which he wrote for weekly until two weeks ago. He also started Global Toy Experts with his former client, then colleague and friend, Steve Velte, doing expert witness work, mergers and acquisitions and all things toys.
Richard was a big personality and he loved life, he loved people and he loved the toy industry. When we met over seven years ago, since I am an educator, I was so taken with his fascinating career choice which I soon came to understand was his life blood. We talked about toys and games and their usage constantly. We often played games, especially word games which we played daily challenging each other to be better. He was a wordsmith and a book lover, reading constantly.
Richard had a highly creative mind, he loved all aspects of the toy business from the creation, the manufacturing, the marketing, the selling, the packaging- the whole shebang. Over the 25 years he did this he traveled to Texas, California, China, Germany and other places to speak about, write about and celebrate the business of toys. He met the most wonderful people from all corners of the world, a small portion of whom I was lucky enough to meet too, and he spoke about the many ideas, the friendships, the joy these toys, the toy companies big and small and, the toy people brought children. He was fascinated with all the possible ideas for their implementation at home and in schools. His advice when asked what toys to buy a child was always the same: Buy them something that you love and that has meaning to you and they will love it.
Earlier this month Richard was at The New York Toy Fair where so many of you said hello, came to find him, met with him and told him how meaningful he was to the industry. This meant the world to him and he felt the love and the respect and was both touched and gratified. We celebrated his 76th birthday a week later, so he exited elegantly with touchpoints from family, friends and colleagues earlier this month.
We were working on a book together with Chris Byrne about the toys famous people played with as children and the career paths they chose, and in his honor, we will continue that work.
Thank you all for making his world so full; he fed off your ideas, your energy and your wisdom. He was a lifelong learner, consummate story teller and always playful. I know that he leaves the toy world a little richer, a little bolder and a little more fun.
He always wanted to be interesting and interested and that he was.
This article was written by Wendy Levey (Richard’s Wife)
Please give us some time at Global Toy News and Global Toy Experts to provide additional details and share plans for the future.