- The Dropout -Where Are The Real People From 'The Dropout' Now?
Hulu's The Dropout tells the true story of Elizabeth Holmes who, after dropping out of Stanford University, went on to create the company Theranos, which proclaimed to test for a wide range of illnesses using just a single drop of blood. This, ultimately, was revealed as a lie, and despite what Theranos told investors and the public, their blood testing machines never actually worked. The truth, however, was only uncovered after Holmes became the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world — and had wrapped many people who had initially believed in her vision into her lie.
So...what happened to these people in real life? While Holmes is currently awaiting sentencing after being convicted of four fraud-related charges, here are the fates of the people in her orbit.
Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani (Naveen Andrews)
Holmes' partner and her alleged co-conspirator faces the same charges as Holmes did, however, while her trial was completed in January 2022, Balwani won't take the stand until March. Holmes, who secretly dated Balwani for years during their time working together, accused him of abuse on the stand, which he has since vehemently denied.
Richard Fuisz (William H. Macy)
On The Dropout, Fuisz is a neighbor of Holmes' family and an inventor in his own right, who licensed patents and made money in royalties. In real life, Fuisz — who was skeptical of Holmes' company from the jump — helped bring Theranos down. In 2015, years after Holmes sued Fuisz in 2011 over their patent dispute, he brought information to Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, who first exposed Theranos. He also assisted the author in research for his book Bad Blood. According to his website, he is still in the invention business and has a particular interest in tobacco and marijuana products.
Ian Gibbons (Stephen Fry)
Biochemist Gibbons, who was hired as chief scientist at Theranos, was ultimately called to testify against the company in 2013. However, days before he was set to testify, he took an overdose of acetaminophen, and died days later of liver failure. His widow, Rochelle Gibbons, blamed Holmes for the stress that led to Gibbons taking his own life. In January 2022, she told CBS News of Holmes' convictions on four counts of fraud-related charges, "Satisfaction in knowing she's going to suffer because, believe me, I've suffered and Ian suffered. She has shown no remorse for any of the things she's done to anyone, nothing."
Channing Robertson (Bill Irwin)
Robertson was one of Holmes' professors at Stanford and became the first member of her board. Today, he works at Stanford University as an emeritus professor and recently taught the course "Busting Energy Myths."
Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf)
In The Dropout, Gardner shuts down Holmes' idea about Theranos immediately, and tells her all the reasons why testing blood with just a single drop is impossible. Today, Gardner still teaches at Stanford, and has spoken out about her skepticism of Holmes — which existed well before Theranos was revealed to be a fraudulent company.
"It was very tough for me all those years, and part of it was that women were idolizing her," Gardner, who appeared in the HBO documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, told Refinery29 in 2019 of seeing Holmes upheld as a biomedical heroine. "I didn’t like that they were idolizing a fraud."
The former Apple designer, who joined Theranos in order to work on the design of blood testing machine The Edison, ditched just four months into working at the company after learning that the unfinished machine was to be tested on real people. Today, Arriola works as a designer at Microsoft, and recently took to Twitter to praise actor Nicky Endres for their portrayal of them on The Dropout.