The “Billy Doll” created by artist John McKitterick and marketed in the United States by London-based Totem International was known as “the first out and proud gay doll” McKitterick who originally designed Billy as limited-edition run of 1,200 dolls created to benefit an AIDS charity decided to mass market his creation after the entire first lot sold out in a matter of days.
Billy was 13 inches tall and was introduced in a number of versions, many based upon stereotypical gay characters of the time.
Billy also came dressed in many outfits, including a standard business suit, but Billy was also available as Sailor Billy, Cowboy Billy, Master Billy, San Francisco Billy, and even once as Dolly Parton Drag Billy. Other dolls in the Billy line included Carlos, Billy’s Puerto Rican boyfriend, and Tyson, their African American friend. And best of all Billy was anatomically correct!
The Billy doll was the subject of a 1998 exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City and at another charity event everal dozen fashion designers created custom outfits for Billy to benefit the AIDS charity LIFEBeat.
In 2001, a Billy donned a brown uniform with a patch reading “BPS” (for Billy’s Parcel Service) and the United Parcel Service sent Totem cease and desist letters advising that the uniform violated UPS’s registered trademark. Totem agreed to stop selling the brown-uniformed Billy style.
Shortly after that Billy stopped being manufactured.
Today the Billy Doll is highly collectible and becoming extremely rare with some versions fetching as much as $900.oo in mint condition at online auctions.
*CLICK the MORE button below to see Billy and his boyfriend Carlos in all their glory! – NWSF (And interestingly Carlos is uncut.)