Ty Warner and the Real People Behind The Beanie Bubble Story


Apple TV+’s new comedy-drama movie The Beanie Bubble is a decent watch if you’re curious about how the Beanie Babies craze emerged, and how it all eventually came crashing down. The film has been adapted from the 2015 book The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute by Zac Bissonnette, which goes into much more detail about the rise and fall of American billionaire toy manufacturer Ty Warner, but who are the other real people behind the characters? And what happened to Ty Warner after his tax evasion conviction?

Maya (Geraldine Viswanathan)

Maya is based on real-life entrepreneur Lina Triveldi, who indeed helped Ty Warner to become a billionaire through his Beanie Babies enterprise online. Triveldi’s computer skills were shaped by her parents, who bought her an IBM PC and manuals at a young age. She then went to DePaul University and majored in Sociology, but began working at Ty while studying in 1992.

Three years later in 1995, Beanie Babies were taking off in a big way, but Triveldi thought their tags were boring and she told Ty Warner that poems inside the tags would make them more collectable. He agreed, and Triveldi wrote the first 136 Beanie Baby tag poems. She also showed Ty Warner how the Internet worked, and created the first ever business to consumer website for Ty Inc.

Triveldi moved on from Ty in 1997 when she started her own company that designed and developed websites for the likes of the Spice Girls and Mötley Crüe. She was also involved in producing the first realtime processing credit card application. Trivedi currently works in the development arena of publishing software, including AI innovations.

Robbie (Elizabeth Banks)

Robbie is based on Patricia Roche, who was Ty Warner’s girlfriend and business partner “of sorts” as the company began to take off. She then moved to the UK to run Ty’s distribution in the country, and made a lot of money doing it! She and Warner were alleged to have continued seeing each other romantically for many years after breaking up.

Sheila Warner (Sarah Snook)

Sarah Snook’s character Sheila is modeled after lighting designer Faith McGowan. McGowan was in a long-term relationship with Ty Warner from 1993 onwards, and she was still with him and present at the large Ty Inc. holiday party where Warner announced record profits, a recreation of which can be seen in The Beanie Bubble film. Ty also showed Faith and her daughters the first prototype for Legs the Frog, and she became closely involved in the company’s operations.

But they never married, and McGowan wasn’t happy about Warner’s ongoing relationship with former girlfriend and business partner Patricia Roche, who had become rich running Ty’s interests over in the UK. McGowan worried that she would be left in entirely the opposite situation if her relationship with Warner imploded. “If Ty changed the locks on the Oak Brook house while the girls were at school or I was at work, I had nothing,” McGowan recalled. “No house. No money in the bank. No employee severance. Not even a credit card.”

She began selling highly sought-after Ty collectibles to establish a financial safety net, but after McGowan and Warner broke up, Warner went on to have another long-term relationship with a woman called Kathryn Zimmie. In 2021, Zimmie filed a lawsuit against Warner that accused him of years of abuse.

Ty Warner (Zack Galifianakis)

Ty Warner was born in 1944 to a toy salesman father and a pianist mother who was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. He would apparently attempt to initiate relationships with his father’s girlfriends after his parents divorced, and was reportedly fired from the company his father worked at for trying to sell his own products to their customers.

When his father died, he poured his life savings and inheritance into founding Ty Inc., which was a huge success thanks to its posable, under-stuffed toys and of course the big launch of the Beanie Babies range, along with the bubble of artificial scarcity he created around their production and availability. His fastidiousness about the look and presentation of his stuffed toys soon extended to his own appearance, and Warner embarked on “a twenty-year odyssey of plastic surgery”.

He had several notable long-term relationships, but seemed reticent to marry as he amassed his fortune. In 2014 he was sentenced to two years of probation for tax evasion, but even now he still has a net worth of over $2billion. Warner has invested heavily in hotels, property and golf courses, including the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, and the Sandpiper Golf Course and the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Santa Barbara.

Warner continues to try and maintain a low public profile, brushing off interviews with the press, so he is often described as a recluse.

“He can be quite aggressive and set in his ways,” a source told The Post in late 2022. “You’re talking about someone who had a startup selling stuffed animals at a price point nobody said would fly — and he became the richest man in the history of toys. Once you’ve done that you’re not inclined to listen to anyone else.”

The post Ty Warner and the Real People Behind The Beanie Bubble Story appeared first on Den of Geek.

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