Apple TV’s comedy-drama movie ‘The Beanie Bubble‘ tells the story of Ty Warner, the owner of Ty Inc. — the company behind the highly popular Beanie Babies. These adorable and unique pocket-sized soft toys become all the rage in the 90s, with almost every second person owning at least one. While the movie delves into Warner’s journey, it primarily chronicles the accounts of three women who change his life and the fate of his company. This includes Robbie, whose hard work and marketing genius make Ty Inc. one of the key players in the toy industry. Given that some characters in the movie are loosely based on real-life people, many have wondered if Robbie also represents an actual person. If you’re curious about the same, here’s what we know!
Is Robbie Based on a Real Person?
Yes, Robbie in ‘The Beanie Bubble’ is reportedly based on an actual person. According to several sources, including Elizabeth Banks, who portrays the character, it is significantly inspired by Ty Warner’s former girlfriend, Patricia Roche. Lovingly called “Patti” by him, she was one of the first employees of Ty Inc. in the 80s and was pivotal in helping the entrepreneur establish and grow his business. In fact, in the early days of Ty Inc., only Warner and Patricia worked together.
According to Zac Bissonnette’s book, ‘The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute,’ which serves as source material for the movie, Patricia helped Warner build his first customers at toy fairs and conventions by encouraging him to tie up with small businesses. Later, she also worked alongside him when he created and launched Beanie Babies in 1993. As per reports, she played a pivotal role in marketing the products and taking them to the level of success they achieved.
Evidently, Patricia was so influential in Warner’s life and the entire Beanie Babies operation that he named “Patti the Platypus” — one of the original nine Beanie Babies after her. In an interview with Bissonnette, she even shared how the businessman was very particular about the photoshoots for the new products and would often spend hours getting the perfect shot. “Ty would look at it and say, ‘Nah, it’s not right. Take another picture. It’s not right. I don’t like it,’ “reminisced Patricia. Later in the 90s, she moved to England, where she headed Ty England, the UK division of the company’s distribution.
At that time, Warner was in a committed relationship with his then-girlfriend, Faith McGowan, yet he continued to work closely with Patricia. Supposedly, this did not sit well with the former, and Bissonnette’s book even claims that Faith was allegedly apprehensive of her partner’s continuing relationship with his ex. Regardless, while Patricia was often seen alongside Warner at company events and conventions, she relatively kept her personal life away from the public eye. While it is known that she was successful in cementing Ty Inc.’s position in the UK market, not many other details about her ever came out.
As per reports, Patricia currently leads a private life in Whiteley, England, and is the Chairperson of P A. Roche as well as the first American woman President of the Gosport/Fareham Rugby Club since 2005. However, one must note that although she largely inspires Robbie’s character in the movie, several fictional elements have been added for entertainment. Although Patricia hasn’t confirmed the same, Robbie in ‘The Beanie Bubble’ is likely a fair mix of reality and fiction. Elizabeth Banks elaborated on the same in an interview with Marie Claire Australia.
The actress stated, “There were a lot of touch points, but I also, as an actor, felt really freed by this notion that we were dramatizing so much of it and that Patty was an inspiration and a jumping-off point but Robbie, I had to create a real character out of what Kristin Gore’s script offered me…But I honestly didn’t do a lot of research on her (Patricia) because I didn’t want to feel beholden to the real person in any way, knowing that, ultimately, I needed the freedom to create a character that I could really latch onto and that could really be my own.”