Co-creator of Trivial Pursuit dies

June 1, 2010

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MONTREAL—Chris Haney, a co-creator of the popular Trivial Pursuit board game, died Monday at the age of 59.

Scott Abbott, who created Trivial Pursuit with Haney, said Haney died in a Toronto hospital after a long illness.

Haney worked for The Canadian Press and the Montreal Gazette newspaper as a photo editor before going into the board game business.

He teamed up with Abbott, a Canadian Press sports reporter, in 1979 to invent Trivial Pursuit.

"He was one of the most knowledgeable, widely read people I've encountered," Abbott said of his friend, who was a voracious newspaper reader. "You could always discuss the affairs of the day."

Abbott said he and Haney always had a "blind faith" that the game would be successful if it got to market, but they no idea just how wildly successful it would become. Released in 1982, it took off after a slow start and the duo sold the rights to toy giant Hasbro in 2008 for US$80 million.

"We didn't realize it would transcend games players and become, with the Cabbage Patch Kids, what Time magazine in 1984 called an American social phenomenon," said Abbott.

Haney is survived by his wife, as well as his first wife, and three grown children.