Arcadia, Calif. -- Richard Knerr, co-founder of the toy company that popularized the Hula Hoop, Frisbee and other fads that became classics, has died. He was 82.
Knerr, who started Wham-O in 1948 with his childhood friend Arthur "Spud" Melin, died Monday at Methodist Hospital after suffering a stroke earlier in the day at his Arcadia home, his wife, Dorothy, told the Los Angeles Times.
Knerr and Melin got their start in business peddling slingshots. They named their enterprise Wham-O after the sound a slingshot made when it hit its target.
They branched into other sporting goods, including boomerangs and crossbows, then added toys that often bore such playful names as the Superball, Slip 'N Slide and Silly String.
When a friend told them in 1958 about a large ring used for exercise in Australia, they devised their own version and called it the Hula Hoop.
Melin died in 2002 at age 77.