Warner dropped out of Kalamazoo College in Michigan after one year to pursue an acting career in Hollywood, Chicago Magazine reports. It didn't pan out, so Warner got a job with Dakin Toy Company, where his father worked.
Warner was fired in 1980 for selling plush toys of his own, and during a three-year stay in Italy, he discovered plush-toy cats that he'd never seen before. He returned home to make plush animals, and in 1986 he founded Ty Inc., the maker of Beanie Babies. By 1998, the company's annual sales had reached $1.4 billion, and Forbes now pegs Warner's net worth at $2.5 billion.