Marilyn Miglin, also referred to as the 'Queen of Makeovers’, is a successful American entrepreneur, inventor and seasoned TV host. She came in the spotlight after her husband and American real estate developer Lee Miglin was murdered by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997. The Czech Republic-born millionaire immigrated to the US and started her career as a model and dancer in Chicago. Eventually, the diva launched her own beauty company and boutique, which has transformed into a leading perfume and cosmetics empire over the years. Marilyn has also thrived as an inventor, creating more than 36 fragrances and perfumes for ‘Marilyn Miglin Cosmetics’. She has been hosting infomercials on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) for over two and a half decades. Her other roles include serving on the ‘Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ and on the special committee on tourism of ‘Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’. She is also known for her humanitarian endeavours, winning several honors and awards for them
Childhood & Early Life
Marilyn Miglin was born as Marilyn Klecka in Pilsen, Czech Republic, either in 1938 or in 1939. She is of Czech descent. Not much is known about her family background, parents, early life and education.
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Marilyn Miglin immigrated to the US in her early adulthood. She became a model and dancer in Chicago. According to some sources, she was worked at the famous Chez Paree nightclub in Chicago as a dancer.
She is known to have travelled across the US as well as around the world during her stint as model and dancer. While travelling to different places she was often asked by her friends to pick up specific cosmetic products from those cities. This led her to realise that Chicago might have a prospective market for such products.
She approached different companies by sending 500 pitch letters and received 143 responses. In no time, she came up with her own shop and began selling products.
Marilyn’s passion for makeup goes back to her teenage years when she suffered from skin troubles. She started applying makeup to feel confident in public and eventually became an avid “counter hopper,” searching for the best cosmetics available.
Her passion for makeup only grew with time, and in June 1963, Marilyn launched her own beauty company and small boutique in Oak Street, Chicago. It has since grown into a cosmetics empire. Her company now produces makeup, skincare products and fragrances.
Over the years, she has created more than 36 fragrances and perfumes under her brand, Marilyn Miglin Cosmetics, proving her mettle as an inventor. One of her popular fragrances, ‘Pheromone’, is considered among the top 10 luxury fragrances sold in the US. The other signature scent created by the diva is called ‘Destiny’, launched in 1990.
Marilyn chose ‘Home Shop Network’ to reach out to millions of her prospective customers. She showcases and sells her products through the network with which she has been associated for over 25 years now.
According to her website, the queen of makeovers is among the top 500 women business owners in the US. She gets invitation from over 65 million television viewers each month, requesting her to visit their homes so as to purchase her products. Her business is worth over $50 million.
She worked in the special committee on tourism of the then Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as a Chicago convention officer for the 'State of Illinois Board of Economic Development’. She also served on the Board of Directors of the United States National Cultural Center, the ‘John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’.
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Marilyn works for the of benefit facially disfigured individuals and those who survived burns. She is widely recognised for such efforts. She is also one of the founding members of the advisory board for the craniofacial center of the ‘University of Illinois’.
Her efforts were recognised in June 1998 when a burn and disfigurement unit at the ‘Raoul Wallenberg Pediatric Day Hospital in Jerusalem’ was dedicated in her honour. She also received the ‘Raoul Wallenberg International Humanitarian Award’.
The first annual ‘Best Face Forward Award’ was conferred on Marilyn for her humanitarian works by the ‘University of Illinois at the Chicago School of Medicine’.
She founded and organised the Women of Destiny program. It inducted 200 most successful women of Chicago to act as mentors to young ambitious women in the professional fields of their choice.
The Oak Street Council thrived under Marilyn’s presidency and raised funds of over $1 million to preserve and promote the charm of the place. Later, the shopping district of Oak Street was named ‘Marilyn Miglin Way’ in her honor. In 1998, the City of Chicago declared April 15 as the ‘Marilyn Miglin Day’.
Family & Personal Life
Marilyn Miglin was around 20 years old when she married Lee Miglin in 1959. Lee, also a Roman Catholic like Marilyn, was a successful real estate developer, business tycoon and philanthropist.
The power couple of Chicago had two children together. Their daughter Marlena was born in 1968, whereas their son Duke was born in 1971. Duke went on to become an actor.
Marilyn Miglin garnered considerable media attention after Lee was murdered by the American serial killer Andrew Cunanan on May 4, 1997. Speaking to the ‘Chicago Tribune’ a year later, she revealed how difficult it was for her to deal with the grief of losing her beloved husband and host a show on the HSN network at the same time.
In 2018, the killing spree of Cunanan was explored in the second season of the FX true crime anthology series ‘American Crime Story’ titled, ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace’. The character of Marilyn was portrayed by the American actress, producer and activist, Judith Light.
Marilyn Miglin married Naguib Mankarious in 1999 but unfortunately, Naguib died a few months after their wedding.