In the past twenty years, independent inventor Richard C. Levy has co-developed over 200 toys and games, including one of the most popular toys of recent years, the Furby.
Richard Levy entered Emerson College in Boston in 1964. He majored in television and cinematography, but also found leisure time to visit nearby MIT, where in the wee hours of the morning he played prototypical video games like "Space Wars" on computer. After earning his BA (1968), he joined Paramount Pictures International as intern to the President; this led to a career promoting feature films internationally. For Paramount, Levy did campaigns for over 30 films, including "The Odd Couple" and "Barbarella"; later, his overseas promotions for Avco-Embassy included "The Graduate" and "The Producers." In 1971, Levy became a producer himself, co-founding a company and producing the first of over two dozen film and TV documentaries.
In 1980, Levy was appointed to the Senior Executive Service of the Federal government, where he later became a principal architect of WORLDNET, U.S.I.A.'s interactive satellite network. In the meantime, Levy had begun to apply his creativity to inventing. Levy's invention specialty was, and remains, toys and games.
For children, Levy's co-inventions include a multi-level, sound-generating game, "Oops & Downs" (1992), and a toy car that comes with a wrench that "transforms" into its "engine" (1999). Levy also co-invented a doll that can be virtually x-rayed (1995), and even a doll that seems to bleed (1996). The Institute for Childhood Resources has ranked Levy's "Uncle Milton Ant Farm" as one of the top ten juvenile games of 1999.
Picking up on the recent yo-yo renaissance, Levy developed a line of Duncan yo-yo key chains in 1998. In the same year came the crowning achievement to date of Levy's career in toys and games: his licensing and co-development of Furby.
For adults, Levy has a knack for creating thought-provoking, interactive board games. Most recently, he developed the games "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul," both based on bestselling books (1999).
Levy has worked extensively with major toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel. Yet he remains independent, with over 200 products and over 30 design and utility patents to his credit. In fact, Richard C. Levy has become a recognized supporter and advisor of aspiring independent inventors, through his frequent public appearances, interviews (featured in the New York Times, on the Discovery Channel's "Invention" series, and elsewhere), and the 12 books he has written, the most popular of which are "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cashing-In on Your Inventions," and "The Toy and Game Inventor's Handbook" The most important advice of all, Levy declares: "The biggest risk is not taking any. The biggest mistake is not making any."