Twister became a top seller and brought Mr. Foley a level of fame, if not great fortune. The patent was issued to him and Rabens for the “apparatus for playing a game wherein the players constitute the game pieces,” according to a news account. Guyer credited the men with “the fabulous idea of getting on the mat with the players’ hands as well as the feet.”
The issue of royalties was a matter of dispute, however. Mr. Foley told the Charlotte Observer in 2006 that he pocketed $27,000 — far less than he thought due to him — after intense disagreement with the Guyer firm.
The Observer reported that Mr. Foley lived largely on Social Security and a modest royalty check from a card game.
“Maybe I’m just too darn naive,” Mr. Foley said.
Charles Frederick Foley II was born Sept. 6, 1930, in Lafayette, Ind. As a boy, he fashioned a gate latch that prevented his family’s cattle from escaping their pen. He attended school through the eighth grade, his son said.
He worked on a Ford Motor Co. assembly line during high school and later served in the Michigan Air National Guard. He sold furnace-cleaning services before finding a job at a toy design shop in Minneapolis and then joining Guyer. After his falling out with the firm, he collaborated with Rabens in a design business and later worked for a toy company in Charlotte. He held 97 patents, according to his son.
His first wife, Kathleen Maley Foley, died in 1975 after 21 years of marriage. His second and third marriages, to Dorothy Zimmerman and Betty Prudhom, ended in divorce. His fourth wife, Melonie Reece Foley, whom he married in 1990, died in 2007.
Survivors include nine children from his first marriage; two brothers; two sisters; 16 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Rabens said that neither he nor Mr. Foley approved of the adult-oriented versions of Twister that evolved after its release. Besides, Mr. Foley once said, “Once you get men and women in play positions, unless you’re drinking, you forget the sex thing. . . . The urge to win takes over.”