Back in 1959, a young woman named Marian Ilitch and her husband Mike invested their life savings into a tiny pizza shop outside Detroit. Mike wanted to call the joint “Pizza Treat,” but Marian wanted to use her nickname for her husband: Little Caesar.
Since then, the pie place with the dictator’s name has become the fourth most popular pizza chain in the United States. And now, its co-founder, Marian — known affectionately as Mrs. I — officially tops Forbes’ third annual list of “America’s Richest Self-Made Women,” boasting a net worth of $5.1 billion. (Her husband died in February of this year.)
Second place went to Diane Hendricks, the cofounder of wholesale building supplies distributor ABC Supply, with a net worth of $4.9 billion. And a tie for third went to Judy Love (of Love’s Travel Stops fame) and Oprah Winfrey (of enthusiasm-for-bread fame), each with $2.9 billion.
Other recognizable names on the list include Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer and author of business tome Lean In, with $1.6 billion), Sara Blakely (creator of Spanx and newest fish in the Shark Tank, with $1.1 billion), Carolyn Rafaelian (founder of Alex and Ani, with $1 billion), Madonna (hanging in there with $580 million), Beyoncé (with a shockingly low $350 million), and Taylor Swift (who has surely added to her $280 million fortune with the massive success of Reputation).
Note: Walmart heir Alice Walton and Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, are actually the richest women in the country, but they’re not included on Forbes’ list because their wealth was inherited.
Aaanyway, next time your husband tries to fight you on something, just announce, “Marian Ilitch overruled her husband and named their pizza place Little Caesars, and now she’s the richest female self-made billionaire in the country, so maybe you should let me make this decision! PIZZA! PIZZA!” Argument OVER. And your a** won.
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