Abe Nathanson

braham Nathanson was the inventor of all our games and the founder of Bananagrams, Inc. the company he started in his garage and built into a worldwide success.

You always knew when Abe was in the room from the sound of laughter. Either Abe was laying full length on the sofa laughing - at Maxwell Smart, the Marx Brothers, Family Guy, or with his grandchildren - or we were laughing as he regaled us with a story from his childhood, from earlier that day, or just from his effervescent, ever-agile mind! Abe’s sense of humor was irrepressible but he had a serious side, particularly when it came to his work.

Abe was born in 1929, and his work ethic was forged during the Depression Years of the 1930‘s - a time when millions of Americans found it hard to make a living. His family lived in Pawtucket, RI., and their struggle to make ends meet became even more arduous when his father - a fruit peddler, ironically - disappeared, leaving Abe’s mother to raise a young family on her own. Things were tough, but the Nathanson family pulled together and made the very best of life.

Following his discharge from the U.S. Army, Abe studied graphic and industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., refining skills that would help him build a number of successful businesses. Abe returned to his hometown, where he and his brother Morris founded a commercial design studio. Abe went on to design jewelry before buying a historic mill complex in Centerdale, and founding George Nathan Design.

After many successful years, he sold the business to pursue his lifelong passions - art and photography. His stunning photographs were exhibited in a number of art galleries and collected by many of his fans. Abe also wrote and illustrated several children's books, using his photographic and artistic talents, as well as his sense of mischief and fun.

Always active as an industrial designer, inventor and entrepreneur, in 2006 Nathanson created a new company, Bananagrams, at the age of 76. This new venture was launched with the help of his daughter, Rena and her children, Aaron and Ava. The success of his word game was immediate and sensational, and in 2009 Bananagrams was the recipient of the "Game of the Year" award from the Toy Industry Association.

Abe passed away at the age of 80 surrounded by his immediate family at his beloved beachfront home at Bonnet Shores, RI. His last days were spent by an open window with a view of white roses and the sound of the surf. Consistent with his nature, his wit and irreverent humor was with him to his final days, much to the joy of his family and friends.

"We all love Bananagrams – such a fun game for all ages!"
— Cindy Crawford
"Playing Bananagrams with friends! I love this game! I was just named Bananagrams Ninja! Be afraid, I’m amazing!"
— Kelly Clarkson
"(I'm a) self-proclaimed Bananagrams champion..."
— Andrew Luck | Indianapolis Colt's Quarterback
“Why it's fun: Manages to be speedy, challenging and super-simple at the same time.”
— AARP Magazine on Zip-It
“Can you spell P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N”
— Boston Globe
“Bananagrams go Hebrew. We’re kvelling!”
— Cool Mom Picks
“Good luck prying this anagram game [Bananagrams] away from students.”
— Scholastic
“Appletters will tickle word lovers to the core.”
— Everyday with Rachael Ray
“Gotta love the Bananagrams.”
— Kathie Lee Gifford
“This [Bananagrams] is so portable, I stash it in my car.”
— Kristen Bell
“Who’s up for a round of Bananagrams, anybody?”
— Jimmy Kimmel
“I love Bananagrams.”
— Ellen DeGeneres
"Maggie Smith loves it. They'll be like 'can we have you back on set' and she's just like [imperious wave of the hand] 'not now.' "
— Lily James, Lady Rose on Downton Abbey
"...one of my favorite games ever, Bananagrams – a fun, fast,addictive word game that will become a family favorite"
— Katie Couric