February 17, 2009 / 9:28 PM / 10 years ago

Bernie Madoff doll grabs spotlight at Toy Fair

A Bernie Madoff action figure made by the toy company ModelWorks is displayed at the American International Toy Fair in New York February 17, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - An action figure of a pitchfork-wielding Bernard Madoff shot to fame so quickly at the Toy Fair in New York that its designer expects to ring up 1,000 orders for the toy by the end of Tuesday.

The hand-made doll was first made to cheer up a friend who lost a “massive amount of money” in the alleged $50 billion Ponzi fraud by Wall Street investment manager Madoff, said its designer Graeme Warring. Warring is also the president of Modelworks, which runs the action figures unit.

Selling for nearly $100, the Bernie “He Made Off With My Money” Madoff action figure was handcrafted in the Philippines. He comes with a limited edition hammer that Warring said he spray-painted to match the doll.

The hammer is to “pulverize Bernie Madoff,” posters and the action figure unit’s website said.

Warring’s friend, an Australian in his 40s who lives in San Francisco, did derive a few laughs out of it. The toy became so popular at the annual Toy Fair exhibition that it far outshined other Modelworks toys, Warring said.

Passers-by at the event stopped to look at the doll, two of which have already been smashed to bits during demonstrations.

“I like the idea if it comes with a hammer,” said Frank Pizzaia, a toy store representative from New York. “It is a good idea for people who want to get rid of their anxiety.”

Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman, editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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