212. Le­an­dro Riz­zuto & fam­ily

Forbes - - PROMOTION -

$3.5 billion  ( self-made score: source: consumer Prod­ucts age: 79 res­i­dence: sheri­dan, Wyo. dropout, st. John’s univer­sity The son of 2 Si­cil­ian hair­dressers, Riz­zuto left St. John’s af­ter 3½ years to join the fam­ily busi­ness. His fa­ther, who liked to fid­dle with hair prod­ucts, had in­vented bris­tle-brush hair rollers and planned to sell them to beauty sa­lons. To fund the ven­ture, which started in the fam­ily’s Brook­lyn home, then 21-year-old Riz­zuto sold his Cadil­lac and paid off the fam­ily debt in 1959. Thir­teen years later, Riz­zuto’s firm, Con­air, in­tro­duced the iconic Yel­low­bird, a bright-yel­low, pis­tol-grip hair dry-

er that didn’t shat­ter when dropped, mak­ing it a hit among pro­fes­sion­als. Con­air owns other consumer prod­ucts, in­clud­ing the kitchen gad­get line Cuisi­nart.

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