E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
, and was also a pioneer in the video game industry.
Under his leadership, Jakks Pacific has grown into one of the top five publicly traded diversified toy companies in the country. It was included in
magazine's 2002 list of the best 200 small companies in America (its third such listing), and was also named to
magazine's annual list of the 100 fastest-growing companies in America for the fourth year in a row.
Jakks Pacific, which since its inception in 1995, has been designing, developing, producing and marketing toys, leisure products
Friedman was also known as a generous philanthropist and supporter of the company's Jakks Cares program, which has benefited organizations such as The Toy Industry Foundation, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, The Special Olympics, Feed the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Marine Toys for Tots and more. Under the program, Jakks has donated more than $40 million worth of toys and school supplies to children around the world. In 2009, Jakks Pacific was recognized by the
Los Angeles Business Journal
as one of the "Top 20 Corporate Philanthropists in Los Angeles," and also as a "Power Player Philanthropist" by the Toy Industry Foundation.
Jakks' chief executive officer Stephen Berman said, "Jack was a legendary toy maker and a real titan in our industry. He dedicated his talents to Jakks Pacific for 15 years, and he will be sorely missed. On behalf of all Jakks employees, we send our sincere condolences to his wife Karen and his children for their loss."
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