Donna Douglas, who appeared as Elly May in every episode of the TV comedy from 1962 to 1971, is suing the toy giant for marketing its Elly May Barbie and a photo of Douglas in the packaging without her endorsement. The suit seeks compensation for illegal usage of her name and likeness, according to a Associated Press story in The Los Angeles Times. Mattel didn't comment in the article.
Douglas, now 77, joins an odd list of other celebrities who toyed with legal action after a doll ticked them off.
Teen sensation Miley Cyrus recently threatened to sue the maker of a blowup sex doll named Finally Miley! according to an AOL item in April. The guitar-holding doll bore likeness to Cyrus' Hannah Montana character and was outfitted with hot pants. The doll reportedly sold out in 48 hours. The manufacturer, Pipedream Products, also sold a Kinky Kim: Filthy Love Doll and a Lindsay Fully Loaded Love Doll. Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian have also been represented in inflatable plastic, though some were removed for what the story deemed "legal reasons."
In 2004, then-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sued the Ohio Discount Merchandising Company for selling a Schwarzenegger bobblehead that held a rifle. The parties settled three months later, with Schwarzenegger reportedly allowing the company to make a bobblehead without the weaponry as long as it donated proceeds to Arnold's All Stars Charity.
We only wish that the relationship between makers of celebrity dolls and their flesh-and-blood counterparts could be as harmonious as Justin Bieber and his merchandiser seems to be. Bridge Direct told this reporter that it expects the Biebs' action figure with newly added nylon hair to sell between 5 and 10 million units when it hits shelves in July or August. The two already combined for a Bieber doll with plastic-formed hair in 2010 that sold more than a million units in just six weeks.
Now those two know how to play nice.