Beck, who had retired near the Bodensee in the state of Bavaria, passed away on January 30 of a serious illness, Playmobil owner the Brandstätter Group said.
The “father” of Playmobil developed the 7.5-centimetre plastic figures and they hit the market in 1974. More than 2.2 billion Playmobil figures have been produced since.
Beck, a trained carpenter, began working for the Brandstätter Group’s founder Horst Brandstätter in 1958 and came up with the little plastic figures after being assigned with creating a concept for a series of toys for small children. The first Playmobil people were dressed as cowboys, Native Americans and construction workers.
“No horror, no superficial violence, not short-lived trends,” was Beck’s motto, and the figures, with moving arms and legs and snap-on clothing, captured children’s imagination with their simplicity.
The Brandstätter group is now Germany’s largest toy producer with 3,000 employees and a turnover of €452 million in 2008.