By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) - She doesn't walk or talk, but this doll is really, really tan.
A novelty toy company has created an action figure modeled on the deeply bronzed New Jersey mother charged with child endangerment and accused of taking her then 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.
Herobuilders, based in Oxford, Connecticut, began selling the $29.95 action figure on Monday in the hope of capitalizing on the sudden prominence of Patricia Krentcil, 44, whose extreme tanning story and shocking photo went viral last week, prompting a skit on the TV show "Saturday Night Live" and online parodies.
"We used that fantastic kind of orange look that some people get," Emil Vicale, president of Herobuilders, told Reuters, describing the color chosen for the action figure's face.
The figure also has bright yellow hair and is dressed in a black jacket and pants.
Vicale forecast sales, strictly online, of 500 to 1,000 units.
He said the action figure was meant to be humorous, adding that he was reluctant to discuss what he called the "sadness" of Krentcil's alleged actions. Krentcil has said tanning is her hobby. Dermatologists say excessive tanning could be the sign of an addiction.
"It's none of my damn business," Vicale said. "I make action figures. I'm not going to go into this woman's thought process."
Krentcil was lampooned in an SNL skit featuring actress Kristen Wiig which suggested that her deeply tanned skin had the power to toast bread.
Authorities say Krentcil's daughter, now 6, turned up at her elementary school in Nutley, New Jersey, with a sunburn on April 24, prompting a school nurse to contact police. Krentcil has said she did not take her child into a tanning booth, and that she would not permit it.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Beech)