Billy doll

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For the prop featured in the Saw film series, see Billy (Saw).
Billy in his "BPS" outfit

Billy is a doll introduced in 1997. Billy was created by artist John McKitterick and marketed in the United States by London-based Totem International as "the first out and proud gay doll" although that distinction actually belongs to Gay Bob, introduced in 1977.[1] McKitterick created the doll based on sketches he drew while living in London. After a successful limited-edition run of 1,200 dolls created to benefit an AIDS charity, McKitterick decided to mass market his creation.[2]

Billy is 13 inches (330 mm) tall. It was introduced in a number of versions based on stereotypical gay characters, including Sailor Billy, Cowboy Billy, Master Billy and San Francisco Billy. Other dolls in the Billy line include Carlos, Billy's Puerto Rican boyfriend, and Tyson, their African American friend. Billy is anatomically correct.[2]

The Billy doll was the subject of a 1998 exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Several dozen fashion designers created custom outfits for the doll in support of a benefit auction for AIDS charity LIFEBeat.[3] Also in 1998, Billy and Carlos served as the basis for the film Billy 2000, which featured segments based on the Master Billy, Cowboy Billy and San Francisco Billy figures.[4]

Billy and Carlos donned drag in 1999, with Billy dressed in a gingham checkered pantsuit as "Dolly" and Carlos as "Carmen" in a polka dot outfit reminiscent of those worn by Carmen Miranda.[5] In 2001, a Billy doll wearing a brown uniform with a patch reading "BPS" (for Billy's Parcel Service) was introduced. United Parcel Service sent Totem cease and desist letters advising that the uniform violated UPS's trademark. Totem agreed to stop selling the brown-uniformed Billy style.[6]

The Billy trademark was cancelled in November, 2006 following a failure to file renewal paperwork.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "It's the Gay Bob doll, out of his own closet". Associated Press. 1978-08-01. 
  2. ^ a b Melendez, Mel (Fall 1997). "Show Me Your Billy". Prism. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  3. ^ "Tommy Hilfiger and Jean Paul Gaultier design collector label for Jones Soda" (Press release). Urban Juice & Soda Company Ltd. 1998-05-26. 
  4. ^ Tramontagna, Giacomo (July 1998). "Billy 2000: Billy Goes to Hollywood". The Guide. 
  5. ^ "Billy and Carlos: It's ladies' night". Unzipped magazine (SLI). 1999-06-22. p. 6. 
  6. ^ LeMay, Patricia M (2002-01-25). "UPS keeps brown-uniformed 'Billy Doll' off shelves.". Associated Press. 
  7. ^ Trademark data