Oprah, Marian Ilitch, Mike Ilitch, Little Caesars, District Detroit

(WWJ) We’ve never seen her handing out cars or hanging with Gayle King, but it turns out Detroit’s Marian Ilitch and talk show impresario Oprah Winfrey have something in common.

They’re the richest self-made women in the world.

Forbes ranked the richest women in the world who earned fortunes without a leg up from family money, and Marian Ilitch, 84, came in first with an estimated $5.1 billion fortune.

Oprah came in with a comparatively paltry $2.9 billion, landing her in the third spot.

But don’t feel sorry for her, poor Taylor Swift, 27, is the youngest woman on the list with a measly $280 million fortune. She comes in at 55th on the list of 60.

Ilitch is the only Michigander on the list and she took over the top spot from Diane Hendricks, a construction products magnate from Wisconsin who is worth $4.9 billion. Hendricks is second on the list this year.

As most metro Detroiters know, Marian Ilitch is the wife of Mike Ilitch. Together they founded the Little Caesars pizza empire and built it from a single restaurant in 1959 to the third largest pizza chain in the world. It was so named because Marian called Mike her “little Caesar.” Eventually, they bought the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings and MotorCity Casino.

In partnership with public sources, the family is building a $650 million arena for the Red Wings and Detroit Pistons and surrounding it with District Detroit, a combined $1.2 billion development around the arena with 50 blocks of residential development, parks, shopping and entertainment destinations.

Mike Ilitch, a beloved figure known to many sports fans as Mr. I, died in February at 87 years old. He is survived by his wife and their seven children, who now run the business operations day to day. The pizza alone brings in an estimated $4.2 billion a year.






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