A toy industry veteran with legendary ties to the world of wrestling action figures has died.
The Toy Book has learned that Robby Kanoff, former executive vice president of sales at Galoob Toys, died yesterday, Sept. 16, 2021.
“We lost a real legend yesterday,” says Graham Mottram, an industry vet and current sales lead at Story Time Chess.
The Philadelphia-born Kanoff began his career in the toy industry in 1978 as national sales manager at Lewis Galoob Toys. In the season three Wrestling Figures episode of The Nacelle Co.‘s The Toys That Made Us, Kanoff recalled being perhaps the youngest sales manager in the toy business at the time at age 23. His efforts to guide Galoob from an importer of toys to a maker of toys led to licensed products inspired by Universal’s The A-Team, WCW, the Spice Girls, and more alongside original brands, including Micro Machines, Baby Face Dolls, and more.
Following his departure from Galoob, Kanoff — dubbed “Jewish Lightning” for his wrestling-inspired sales tactics — was one of the founders of The Original San Francisco Toymakers and re-acquired the license to produce WCW action figures followed by a deal with Extreme Championship Wrestling for a line of ECW toys.
“Robby was a great salesman and an even better friend,” says Robert Weinberg, former executive vice president at Toys “R” Us and senior vice president of merchandising at KB Toys.
For the past 20 years, Kanoff lived in Massachusetts with his partner, Josie Persichino. Kanoff was 67.