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Living Dolls: Could Your Life Stand Up to the Doll Challenge?

While promoting the latest installment of the Twilight series, actress Kristen Stewart (Bella) and actor Taylor Lautner (Jacob) were asked about the merchandise that swirls around their teen box-office sensation. Lautner, an 18-year-old boy who still lives with his mom and dad, was understandably embarrassed to know that people were buying sheets with his likeness on it, bare-torso dolls with his athletic physique, and ladies’ panties with his face and a blurb about “Team Jacob” emblazoned across the back. Stewart was more resigned to the whole marketing blitz. Her only comment was that dolls and T-shirts made sense to her; whereas other spin-offs, like Band-Aids and body shimmer, were “funny and weird, or funny-weird.” (Keep in mind, she just turned 20. Her vocabulary is still very much “teen speak.”)

Hearing the young heartthrobs talk about being bought and sold as products got me thinking: Can you imagine if various stages of your life were captured by a sculptor or an illustrator and then peddled to the masses? I shudder to think of what my doll likeness or my appearance on a pillowcase would look like.

Granted, Stewart and Lautner are both in the prime of their lives. They’ll probably never look this good again so, of course, it is the perfect time to have themselves immortalized. But what about older performers who get the doll treatment—how do they feel about that transformation?

Hugh Jackman was on David Letterman’s talk show when he shared a story about his son and a Wolverine doll. The Aussie hunk said he had been away from home for a very long time doing the X-Men flicks and stage performances of the musical “The Boy From Oz.” During a phone call back home, he confessed he was getting worried that his son would forget him. His wife said, not to worry, the child was sleeping with a doll of his father every night. The next day, Hugh’s wife sent him a video of the little boy nestled with his “Wolverine” doll. The mutant’s claws grasped in the boy’s tiny hands, the beast’s push-button roar silenced as they slept together. Jackman very candidly said, “I was fascinated and horrified. All I could think was ‘My God, that IS his father. What is that doing to him? How many years on a therapist couch is that going to add up to?” I guess Kristin Stewart is right: That is funny AND weird.

There are so many celebrity doll likenesses made these days, and the vast majority have the subject looking even more glamorous and elegant than in real life. But there are the occasional examples when the sculpting is a botched-up mess, rendering the star relatively unrecognizable. There are also the times when the character that the actor is portraying is downright evil and unlikable. A good translation of that role into vinyl means, for instance, that Jason Isaacs will always be malevolent and menacing as “Lucius Malfoy” from the Harry Potter line of dolls. And Christopher Lee will be immortalized as chilling and wicked “Saruman” in the Lord of the Ring dolls.

When I learned that Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were both being re-created by Robert Tonner, I immediately asked if there was a “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” pairing in the near future. I was told “no”—that the Joan Crawford license was granted with the understanding that the dolls would always be fashionable and favorable. So, sadly, no depraved and despicable duo of “Blanche” and “Jane” will be terrorizing our doll cabinets.

It makes sense that Joan Crawford’s estate wants to keep the memory of their benefactress alive and well. (Poor Joan, after all, has already taken a beating with wire hangers from her daughter’s tell-all memoir.) Still, some of Joan’s greatest parts were when she let her hair down, and her looks were forgotten and disguised. That’s certainly true of co-star Bette Davis in her later years, when she was unhinged and unstable in a stellar lineup of crazy, demented roles.

That brings me back to my own life, and the notion of being made into a doll. Like most people, no one wants to have their monstrous moments preserved for all to see. Think about the worst argument you ever participated in or the most awful bad-hair day you ever experienced. How would you like that as your claim to fame? Not a pretty thought.

I guess if we mere mortals were going to be made into dolls, the store shelves would be filled with graduation likenesses, wedding days, proms, sports victories and first job offers. In my own case, with apologies to my husband and my son, if I had to select one moment and have it preserved forevermore, it would be the first time I fed my daughter.

I adopted my child when she was 10 months old, and she was the size of a peanut. When I sat across from her on our bed in a Chinese hotel room, I knew I was responsible for this tiny, precious life. As I propped her up against pillows and put a bib around her neck (she was so tiny the bib covered her whole body), I knew my life had changed forever, and it was a change I was so overjoyed to have made. My husband snapped a picture of that moment, and that would be my doll tableau. Ashton-Drake, if you’re ever looking to capture a scene from the heart, here it is. It’s my personal Precious Moment. What about you? What would you choose for your doll likeness? Or, for your conversion into a cherry-flavored lip balm? I swear, I saw a “Team Edward” Chapstick just the other day.

Photo Captions

Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner (top) are two of the hottest young celebs today. Their likenesses adorn the most expected—and unexpected—places.


Hugh Jackman likes to spend quality time with his son, Oscar. When he was on the road, the little boy made “do” with a Wolverine (middle) doll substitute.


If I could have one moment of my life preserved as a likeness tribute, it would be when I first met and cared for my daughter, Jane (bottom). She changed my life more than anyone else had ever done.

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I lost my son four years ago. He was 50 years old. I would love to have a baby doll made to look like him when he was three months old. He was such a beautiful baby and grew into such a sweet , good man.
Marlene , December 07, 2010
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I would select the day my baby was born. I would love to have a doll made of her as a small helpless innocent baby. It would be so sweet. I am partial to the newborn dolls and the reborn dolls.
Connie , July 08, 2010
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I'd select my six-year-old birthday party as my little-doll form, and my wedding day as my fashion doll form. When I was turning six, I thought everything was possible. And I felt that same way when I got married. My dresses changed but I didn't inside. That's my choice.
Cate , July 07, 2010
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I don't know what part of my life I'd like to have made into a doll. I'd say the day I got divorced, but I don't think any doll artist can sculpt just how happy I was then. I didn't know that the Jacob actor was only 18. He's a lucky teenager to have all this success and fame. I hope his parents keep an eye on him so he has a long and happy career.
Bette , July 07, 2010

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One World Doll Project, Tonner Doll Company merge to become Tonner One World

One World Holdings, Inc. and Tonner Doll Company, Inc., announced Dec. 3, 2015, that their Boards of Directors have approved a definitive agreement for One World Holdings' subsidiary, The One World Doll Project, to merge with Tonner Doll. The agreement was entered into Dec. 2. Following the closing of the merger, the combined business will change its name to Tonner One World.

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Very informative article. I am happy for Tonner Doll and hope that their new venture enables them to continue creating beautiful dolls.
Terri Gold , December 05, 2015 | url

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2015 DOLLS Awards Industry's Choice winners announced

The 2015 DOLLS Awards of Excellence Industry’s Choice winners (DAEs, also called the Diamond Awards) were announced at the International Doll & Teddy Bear Show in Asheville, N.C., June 6. The Industry's Choice winners will go on to become the nominee's in the Public's Choice voting, set to begin in late June.

Without further ado, here are the winners of this year's Industry's Choice Diamond Awards!

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Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.

The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.

To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:

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The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:

2002 Steiff
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2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2010 Helen Kish
2012 Maggie Iacono
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BLACKALL ASSOCIATES INC. 
ANNOUNCING Winner of the Summer Heat Photo Contest

August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat. 

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i have very old magazines need to sell them before something happens to them
margie , December 20, 2014
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i really like all the barbie balack dress, can i ask question can i buy this, because its all out in the market now here in the philippines, can you help me please im a big fan of thiss dolls
mark christian paul l. carigma , December 16, 2014 | url

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The Chicago Toy Show

You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.

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