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T Mark Taylor, He-Man Toy Designer and Masters of the Universe, Dies Aged 80 | US News

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T Mark Taylor, artist and toy designer for the He-Man and Masters of the Universe franchise as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, has died of heart failure at his southern California home. He was 80 years old.

He-Man was the muscular frontman of toy maker Mattel’s Masters of the Universe franchise, which would later spawn an animated series that became a staple for kids.

T Mark Taylor, He-Man Toy Designer and Masters of the Universe, Dies Aged 80 |  US News

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Artist and toy designer Mark Taylor in 2018. Photograph: Rebecca Taylor / AP

He-Man may have been known as a towering superhero warrior, but he also rose to fame within the LGBTQ + community, which saw parallels in the secret life of Prince Adam, He- alter ego. Man.

As with many creative endeavors, many hands have shaped the franchise. Taylor said the prototypes dated back to his own childhood when he dreamed of being “the next hero.” He said he based the concept of He-Man on his view of Cro-Magnon men, as well as the Vikings.

Mattel has sold more than 70 million action figures from its Masters of the Universe collection within 30 months of its release in stores nearly 40 years ago, according to the New York Times.

Taylor began his career at California-based Mattel in 1976 as a packaging designer, his family said.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise – starring pizza-loving Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo – has kicked off a long animated series, live-action movies, and a tagline: cowabunga!

Although Taylor didn’t create any of the characters, his work as a designer helped propel them into childhood images famous for many people around the world, including action figures and costumes that flew off store shelves. .

Terrell Mark Taylor – who was called his middle name, Mark – was born on June 5, 1941, according to California voter registers. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, designer Rebecca Salari-Taylor of Ranchos Palos Verdes.

“I felt him say goodbye to this world as I held him in my arms for a last kiss of love,” Salari-Taylor wrote in a Facebook post.

Taylor’s family said her stepfather Tony Salari told the artist, “If you can draw well, you’ll be fine.”

Taylor received orders for stripes for “hot rod” cars as a teenager in Redondo Beach in the early 1950s, his family said. He then attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena.

Taylor then worked for the US Department of Defense in Pasadena and helped with submarine, biological and technical sonar technology, and seabed mapping projects, his family said.

“If I had to make a hero for today it would be a female hero – because now is the time, because the heroes of our time are women… We men have had our day,” said Taylor to fans during an appearance at He-Man’s Day in 2015.

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