Mel Odom has announced that as of June 2010 his iconic “Gene Marshall” doll will be officially retired. “Gene and I are pulling a Garbo, and retiring,” Odom wrote in a letter he sent to Gene fans explaining his decision. “I’ve been given much because of Gene; acclaim, financial security and the best bunch of friends and collectors anyone could ever expect from their profession. … I just think it’s always better going out a winner, while you are on top,” he penned.
Odom, age 59, would like to spend his future cultivating a career as a painter and perhaps art teacher, but not before Gene is given a proper farewell. A special Gene will be released in early 2010, and she will be sent out in style at her final, 15th-annual convention to be held June 3-5, 2010, in Philadelphia. Odom wrote in his letter, “For this special party, we’re creating one more collection, ‘The Stardust Collection,’ a curtain call of sorts for all our characters.”
After licensing Gene since 1995 to The Ashton-Drake Galleries, Odom moved the license to Integrity Toys in 2006. Percy Newsum, Integrity Toys president, says, “It has truly been a privilege to be able to work with someone as talented as Mel and to service such a dynamic and caring group of collectors. … Gene will always be an important part of our history.”
And Gene, who was Odom’s primary project for a score, will always be a crucial part of his past as well. He noted, “Gene is in my head and heart and nothing I can ever do will change that.”
Gene will remain part of the collective collector consciousness, as well, for many years to come.