Who would have known that pizza would be the catalyst that ultimately led one woman to become the richest woman in Michigan?

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images
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The Birth of Little Caesars Pizza

Marian Ilitch wasn't born rich, and she didn't marry into money either.

Marian and Mike Ilitch got married in 1954, and opened the very first Little Caesars Pizza shop in Garden City, Michigan, five years later.

RELATED: Here's Why Michigan Should Be the Pizza Capital of America

Today, Little Caesars is the third-largest pizza chain in the United States, behind only Domino's and Pizza Hut.

The Reinvigorated Detroit Red Wings

Marian and Mike Ilitch spent $8 million to purchase the National Hockey League's then-flailing Detroit Red Wings in 1982.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - APRIL 10: Taro Hirose #25 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena on April 10, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo via Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - Taro Hirose, #25 of the Detroit Red Wings, skates against the Dallas Stars at Little Caesars Arena on April 10, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo via Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Red Wings hadn't been a hockey powerhouse since the early- to mid-1950s. However, several years into the Ilitch era, the team became a force to be reckoned with once again, earning four Stanley Cups (1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008).

Today, the Detroit Wings are worth an estimated $1.12 billion. That's a pretty good return on investment compared to the $8 million that was spent to acquire the team 40+ years ago.

Marian Ilitch Takes Over MotorCity Casino

Marian Ilitch bought into Detroit's MotorCity Casino back in 1999, and became its sole owner six years later. She was the mastermind behind its expansion in the late 2000s which added a luxury hotel and spa, entertainment and convention space, and several new restaurants.

Photo via Getty Images
Marian Ilitch. Photo via Getty Images

Marian Ilitch Today

Marian's husband Mike died back in 2017, but the couple's legacy lives on through Ilitch Holdings. Their son Christopher runs things now as president and chief executive officer.

In addition to the businesses mentioned above, Ilitch Holdings also has interests in the Detroit Tigers, Champion Foods, and Blue Line Distribution.

SEE ALSO: Richest Man in Michigan Is Worth 122x More Than Kid Rock

According to Forbes, Marian Ilitch's net worth today is approximately $4 billion, which makes her Michigan's richest woman. She's the 8th-richest self-made female billionaire in America.

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