Charles Lazarus, the founder of Toys “R” Us, has passed away at the age of 94. The entrepreneur founded the popular retail company 70 years ago at the age of 24. Learn about his net worth, family, and how he started the iconic company.
The sad news comes after Toys “R” Us made headlines this week as the company announced that it will shut down its stores in the U.S. According to CNN Money, Charles Lazarus no longer had a stake in the company he founded and did not run its operation in recent years.
Lazarus stepped down as CEO in 1994 but stayed as chairman for more four years. He sold the company he founded for a fortune, boosting his net worth in the process.
According to Fortune, Lazarus made over $60 million in 1987, making him No. 1 in its ranking of highest-paid executives on Forbes’ list that year. His stock options in the company made up $56 million of the huge payout.
In August of 2013, Lazarus sold his penthouse in Manhattan for $21 million.
Charles Lazarus’ net worth is estimated to be more than $100 million. Toy “R” Us was bought in 1966 by Interstate Department Stores in 1994, and Bain Capital, real estate firm Vornado, and other investors took control of the toy company in a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout in 2005.
It is unclear how much Charles Lazarus made by selling Toy “R” Us; therefore, his exact net worth is unknown.
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Lazarus married his third wife, Joan Regenbogen, in 1995. He was previously married to Austrian-American sex therapist Helen Singer Kaplan for 16 years until she died of cancer at age 66.
Lazarus was involved in a lawsuit concerning Kaplan’s deathbed divorce claim. He battled Kaplan’s children from a previous marriage — Phillip, Peter, and Jennifer — over a post-nuptial agreement until 2000, reports Bloomberg.
A judge dismissed the claim, and the Toy “R” Us founder didn’t have to pay her children.
Charles Lazarus has two daughters, Ruth and Diane Lazarus, from his first wife, Udyss, who he divorced in 1979.
Toys “R” Us struggled in recent years from growing competition from online retail, as well as companies such as Walmart and Target, which sold toys along with groceries and other items.
Charles Lazarus’s cause of death has not been announced. Toys “R” Us released the following statement.
“There have been many sad moments for Toys’R’Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.”