Riches to Rags Reality Star

Marc Paskin will be the next millionaire on ABC's latest reality show, "Secret Millionaire."

This coming Sunday night, one of La Jolla’s own will grace the small screen. ABC’s newest TV show Secret Millionaire will feature Marc Paskin as the titular “millionaire” in its next episode. 

ABC premiered its latest reality TV show last Sunday, March 9, to 12.7 million viewers. Modeled after the hit UK show with the same name, Secret Millionaire whisks millionaires away from their wealthy lifestyles and drops them off in some of the poorest parts of the country. Each standalone episode covers their experiences as they go undercover to volunteer at charities and observe people who are trying to make a difference. Oh and one more thing. They are subjected to impoverished conditions in order to better understand the lives of the people they encounter.  

The show’s tearjerking debut followed Dani Johnson, an entrepreneur, as she experienced hardship in Knoxville, Tennessee. This week will have Paskin, a local resident, taking his turn at helping the needy. 

“They put me in the slums of Detroit. I stayed in a beat-up house. They gave me an old car and $40 to last a week on food. They want you to be immersed in poverty,” says Paskin of the show. 

For a week, Paskin bounces from charity to charity under the pretense of shooting a documentary. Organizations like Really Living Corporation and Young Detroit Builders opened their doors to Paskin to come in, lend a hand, and see their efforts in helping people. 

Paskin has lived in California for the last 25 years. Being a native of Madison, Wisconsin, however, his stay in Detroit was like going back to his Midwest roots. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin. His humble beginnings began when he put $1,000 down on a $15,000 duplex in Madison—a risky move considering it was his life-savings. He earned a profit, reinvested, and eventually built a large portfolio. He currently runs his business as the president of Paskin Properties, a commercial real estate investment company. 

Says Paskin of his life, “I came up poor. It’s sort of a rags to riches story.”

The philanthropy is nothing new for Paskin. He is already involved with organizations like UC San Diego’s Shiley Eye Center and the American Cancer Society. A generous donation led to the Marsha Paskin Clinic at the Shiley Eye Center in honor of his late wife.

“He’s a very generous person,” says Karen Anisko, the director of Development and Communication at Shiley Eye. 

By the show’s end, Paskin’s experiences lead him to make a substantial donation. Paskin himself generally dislikes most reality shows. Secret Millionaire, however, has a positive message, which is a big reason why he agreed to do the show. The episode will air this Sunday on the Alphabet network at 8 p.m.

Mavis klosner March 14, 2011 at 01:33 AM
God bless you Marc.!!!! I just watched the secret millionaire. Just awesome what you did for all those people. Thank you
Felicia Lansdell March 14, 2011 at 07:20 AM
Hello Marc, my name is Felicia Lansdell and I live in Sacramento, Ca and I was watching your appearance on Secret Millonaire and it got me thinking, you said in the beginning that you want to help other people. Well like everyone else who happens to be struggling finacially as much as I am, I was wondering if it would be okay to ask for your help? I am a fully trained Medical Assistant but I have not been able to get a job here in Sacramento. I have been without a full time job for more than 2 years. I have 3 children at home but I have given birth to 7 healthy babies in my past. Three of my kids were taken away from me by the state and I gave up one baby for adoption 6 years ago. We are in so deep here. I share a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 other family members and we barely make the rent. I am with a wonderful man who does not make enough money to not live paycheck to paycheck. I receive food stamps but it is not enough to make it thru the entire month. My fiance Antonio, my daughter Anna, my son Anthony and myself all need to see a dentist very badly. Antonio needs some teeth pulled and some new teeth put in. Until he gets that done he practically swallows his food whole and he has put on some major weight cause of this. Anna has two rows of teeth in the front top and so she needs some braces and some teeth pulled too. She does not smile without covering her mouth because she is ashamed of her smile. Anthony just needs braces but they cost about 3000 bucks.
Felicia Lansdell March 14, 2011 at 07:28 AM
And I just dont have it. And for me, my front teeth are crowns and one of them keeps coming loose about every three months. The free dentist wont fix it anymore. Plus I need some bridges put in too. I put my family in debt with some foolish get rich quick schemes that I felt for. Besides the dentist, Anna needs to get her legal papers because I gave birth to her in Mexico and I cant afford to get that done on my own and it is not automatic just because I am an American citizen. So I need a lot of help from you and you can say no, but I have asked for help from all kinds of people including Oprah but I have not yet heard a solid response from her. I am a desperate woman needing a lot of finacial help but if you just want to help people like me and my family, we would appreciate it very much. My fiance does not know that I am writing to you so if you do decide to help us it will be a big surprise. I will leave my email address below: felicialansdell123@hotmail.com. If you want to help me just send me a personal email and I can either give you my phone number so you can call me or we can work it out somehow. If you dont want to help me that is okay really Marc, I have been suffering for so long and I am still alive and somewhat healthy, we can wait a little longer if necessary. Thank you for reading this.
Denise Dubois March 14, 2011 at 08:35 PM
I have a serious organization I know of..where a family has refinanced their own home 3 times to give special needs children something to look forward too..please let me know how I can contact this show...the owner is the nicest, kindest person you will meet and I would like to share his story with you to see if you could maybe help him keep his organization going. It is run by himself and volunteers. You may contact me at davden862001@yahoo.com. He does not know I am asking this from you..This show is amazing..my husband and I have to share the tissues box..what a wonderful feeling it must be to be able to give such wonderful gifts.
Mary B March 15, 2011 at 05:02 PM
Shameful. People begging this man for a handout.
catherine pirraglio March 17, 2011 at 02:50 AM
hi Marc, been following the show, luv it brings tear to my eyes that there are real people out there like u and others on the show,i used to think is this real or is it tv,,well i am going to take a shot at this and follow my mother instincts, and feeling in my heart, and i am sure you are getting lots of requests for help and money, but this request is everything, coming from my heart in need of your help,,i am going in the hospital on the 21 of march, i have a 19 year daughter, she is my everything and that why i am doing this, i need help, i woe 800.00 for rent, i am getting $57.00 aweek for disability, and am in the process of selling my 1997 saturn wagon, so i dont have to worry while i am in the hospital, have tried selling it on craigs list, highest offer was 600. i know it is worth 1250.00 blue book, any way i do what i need to do to have my daughter stress free, while i am in hospital..can you please help me please...very much in need..thank you catherine pirraglio..cpirraglio@yahoo.com or 1-760-842-1224..1-760-274-7138,,thanks for reading;big request;bignever would ever consider what i am asking
ashanti August 28, 2011 at 02:23 AM
hi mr.marc that was a very very wounderful thing u done i say keep up the good work couse everybody ain't able god bless u in every way. There is alot of people in this world that need help in some kind of way and im 1 of them hand full person that in that catagoery i work hard at what ever i do living inlow income houseing 2 pay check 2 pay check but it not anough to get this gold cap oout of my mouth i dont smile couse of it people alway got to say meanful things an it verry hurtful2 me if i can get any help that will be wounderful i do understand no ,thank for reading an 2 whom ever concern. ashan4@aol.com p.s ashanti
steffi October 22, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Hi Marc its Steffi. Glad your having so much fun . Miss hanging with u on our secret missions .aloh


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