The toy industry is saying goodbye to Dick “Mr. Buddy-L” Keats

Respected toy industry legend Dick Keats, also known by his nickname Mr. Buddy-L, recently passed away at the age of 97. Dick, a former Navy Seal and graduate of Brown University, started working at his father’s toy company, BUDDY-L. Toys fresh out of college. Since then, his impact on toys and licensing could not be underestimated. Below you will find a statement from Buddy-L Toys about Dick, his life and his legacy.


On April 7, 2024, Richard Keats, also known as Mr., passed away. Buddy-L, at peace after enjoying a long, full life bringing joy and smiles to millions of children around the world. He had just turned 97 years old on April 1.

Dick was a veteran of the United States Navy and a graduate of Brown University. The day after he graduated, Dick went to work at his father’s company, Buddy-L Toys, in 1948. When his father retired in 1976, Dick took over the company and ran it successfully until 1990, when he sold it to SLM. But, as he often noted, “the toy industry becomes part of who you are,” so he continued to design and invent toys under his company Kaywood Industries. He and his partners have successfully licensed concepts to Fisher Price, Matter, Hasbro, Spin Master and others over the past 30 years. ‘Brush Your Teeth Barney’, ‘Playtime Big Bird’, ‘Flatsy’, ‘Makeup Mindy’ and other successful hits were all part of Kaywood Industries’ efforts. His annual attendance at the New York Toy Fair and the Dallas Fall Toy Preview through 2019 showcased his passion for play and his love for toys. He couldn’t walk down a single aisle during the show without being stopped at least eight times to shake hands and talk to someone he knew. He was deeply respected and loved in the toy industry and touched many lives in many ways.

Drive home safely, Mr. Buddy-L. You will be deeply missed!

Dick’s wife Jean predeceased him and he is survived by his daughters Maggie and Trish. Donations can be made to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association.


We at TTPM and aNb Media extend our deepest condolences to Dick’s family and friends.