T. Mark Taylor, who designed iconic He-Man toys for SoCal-based Mattel, dies at 80

LOS ANGELES – T. Mark Taylor, artist and toy designer for the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe franchise as well as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, died Thursday at his home in Southern California. He was 80 years old.

The cause was congestive heart failure, Taylor’s family said in an email to The Associated Press on Saturday.

He-Man was the muscular leader for toy maker Mattel’s Masters of the Universe franchise, which would later spawn an animated series that became primarily children’s.

The kids jostle to do their homework between scenes featuring the cartoon hero belted out as he battles witches and other villains.

He-Man is the epitome of the superhero warrior but has also become an icon in the LGBTQ community, who have seen similarities in the secret life of Prince Adam, his alternate self. He-Man.

T. Mark Taylor designed toys in the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series, as well as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

As is the case with many creative endeavors, many hands have shaped the franchise. Taylor has said that archetypes stem from his own childhood when he fantasized about being the “next hero”. He said he based his concept of the Man on his vision of Cro-Magnon men, as well as Vikings.

Mattel sold more than 70 million action figures from the Masters of the Universe collection – which hit shelves in 1982 – in the franchise’s first two and a half years, according to The New York Times.

Taylor started his career with El Segundo-based Mattel in 1976 as a packaging designer, his family said.

Mattel did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series – featuring Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and pizza-loving Leonardo – spawned a series of animated series, live-action films and a catchphrase: cowabunga.

Although Taylor did not create any of the characters, his design work has helped make them iconic childhood images for many people around the world, including the characters. Action and costumes have flown off store shelves.

Terrell Mark Taylor – whose middle name is Mark – was born on June 5, 1941, according to California voter registration records. 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 one last loving kiss,” Salari-Taylor wrote in one. Facebook post.

Taylor’s family said his father-in-law, Tony Salari, told the artist: “If you can draw well, everything will be fine.”

Taylor received commissions 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 continues to work for the US Department of Defense in Pasadena and contributes to projects in submarines, biological and engineering sonar technology, and seafloor mapping, his family said.

Taylor’s toy work has been featured in documentaries, including “Power of Grayskull” and “The Toys That Made Us.”

“If I were going to be a hero for today, it would be a heroine – because the time has come, because the heroes of our time are women. … We men have had our days. ours,” Taylor told fans during an appearance at a He-Man festival in 2015.

Copyright © 2021 by Associated Press. Copyright Registered. T. Mark Taylor, who designed iconic He-Man toys for SoCal-based Mattel, dies at 80

Dais Johnston

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