The Extraordinary Life of
A rags to riches tale, one that inspires and motivates others to, as Dick would say, “work your butt off.” Dick life’s is indeed one of perseverance and hard work. Even at a young age, he learned quickly how to overcome obstacles. When Dick was just twelve, he was in a terrible chemical bomb accident. As a result, he lost his eye sight, and 60% percent of his hearing. Thanks however to a miracle, he slowly began to see again in his right eye, a slow process where he went from complete darkness to gray then to color. Despite this difficult and painful point in his life, Dick never felt sorry for himself and never considered being blind in one eye as a handicap; instead, he viewed all obstacles as challenges.
In fact, Dick’s mother often told him that “being second in anything is being first in a long line of losers.” With that in mind, Dick excelled both in school and in sports. He earned two degrees: a BA in pre-med and an MBA in business. He was a star quarterback both in high school and college, a boxing champion, and at sixty, a champion race car driver.
In 1959, Dick, his wife and his son came out to California with only $500 in his pocket. Without a job and with very little money, he was determined to work. After sending out
dozens of resumes, he landed a job in sales and worked for a pharmaceutical company. One day, however, destiny knocked at his door when a young man with incredible charm, Mark Hughes, came to Dick and said, “I want to start a business together.” Soon, they created and launched what would eventually become Herbalife.
Despite a lifetime of success, he never forgot the words of his Italian-American father: “Earn, Learn, and Return.” He wanted to help others especially children at risk. With his collection of cars, Dick opened up an auto museum in Tustin, California, with all the proceeds going to help children in need.
Today, the Marconi Auto Museum in Tustin, California has an impressive collection of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Muscle Cars and racing cars. Under the direction of Dick’s wife, Priscilla “Bo” Marconi and her team, the museum helps raise funds for local Orange County and Los Angeles charities. Neither Dick nor Mrs. Marconi take any finances for personal use.
As his career soared, Dick worked long hours. To help him relax, he found solace in both his mother’s and his love for art. His mother used to take him to museums when he was a little boy; by the time he was a teen, he had studied and been exposed to the masters while having an affinity to Impressionism and artists such as Monet and Degas. He eventually began to paint in the 1950s.
Dick’s love of color became instrumental in developing the technique he termed as “Color Fusion.” He describes “Color Fusion” as a way to “take colors and make them move and flow.” Dick’s art has been exhibited in many galleries around the world: Beverly Hills, Florida, Las Vegas, New York, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and even Italy.
Dick continues to paint in his art studio where he lives. His house too is a masterpiece, a gorgeous estate and ranch he called Villa Marconi. With Cypress, olive and lemon trees flown in from Italy, Villa Marconi feels and looks like the most beautiful picturesque setting in Tuscany. His home feels magical, and is surrounded by acres of open land, statues from Italy, and even a chapel where there is a copy of Michelangelo’s Pieta’ (one of three in the world).
Today, Marconi is busier than ever. He travels a great deal, spends time with his family and his loving wife, and continues to work on his art. In January, Dick will have his work exhibited in the Italian American Museum in Los Angeles, California. (italianhall.org) This year, Mr. Marconi will turn eighty-two, but with his energy, creativity and passion for life, he truly seems years younger. Another secret to his happiness? He often says, “life is a journey, not a destination,” and looking at his life today, his journey has surely been a fantastic one.
For more, go to www.dickmarconiart.com