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Friday, 7 August 2015

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes was born in Humble, Texas on December 24, 1905 to a rich family,

As a boy, Howard showed an ability to build things with wires and scraps of metal.

Photo of Hughes taken in April 1912

Howard Hughes withdrew from Rice University shortly after his father's death in 1924.

On June 1, 1925, Hughes married Ella Botts Rice, socialite daughter of David Rice and Martha Lawson Botts of Houston.  Soon after their marriage, Howard and Ella moved to Los Angeles, where he hoped to make a name for himself making movies.

In 1929,  Ella, returned to her home city and filed for divorce.

Hughes went on to date many famous women, including Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. On January 12, 1957, Hughes married actress Jean Peters. They divorced fourteen years later.

Jean Peters in the trailer for the film Broken Lance (1954)
Hughes entered the entertainment industry after marrying and moved to Los Angeles, where he hoped to make a name for himself as a film-maker.

His first two films, Everybody's Acting (1927) and Two Arabian Knights (1928), were financial successes, the latter winning the first Academy Award for Best Director of a comedy picture.

From the late 1920s, Hughes made big-budget and often controversial films like Hell's Angels (1930), Scarface (1932), and The Outlaw (1943).

Photo of Howard Hughes in 1938.

Howard Hughes suffered from chronic constipation. He filled his many hours on a toilet by reading heaps of books and magazines for stories for his movies.

Hughes was an excellent golfer from a young age, often scoring near par figures, and held a handicap of three during his twenties. He played frequently with top players, including Gene Sarazen.

Jack Dempsey once knocked-out  Howard Hughes. Hughes wanted to see "what it would be like to spar with the heavyweight champion".

Howard Hughes was a lifelong aircraft enthusiast and pilot setting multiple world air speed records. He set a world airspeed record of 352 mph in 1935 in his H-1 racing landplane, which had an aluminium fuselage and wooden wings. Hughes walked away unscathed after he ran out of fuel and had to crash land in a California beet field.

Flying his H-1 Racer, Hughes set a transcontinental airspeed record on January 19, 1937 by flying non-stop from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds (beating his own previous record of 9 hours, 27 minutes). His average ground speed over the flight was 322 mph (518 km/h).

After a 1946 plane crash, Howard Hughes decided he did not like the design of the hospital bed he was laying in. He called in plant engineers to help him come up with a customized bed specifically to alleviate the pain caused by moving with severe burn injuries. Despite the fact that he never had the chance to use the bed that he designed, Hughes' bed served as a prototype for the modern hospital bed

The "Spruce Goose," or H-4 The Hercules was the largest aircraft ever built. It was piloted by its designer Howard Hughes on its first and only flight on November 2, 1947. It flew on November 2, 1947, for one mile, at a maximum altitude of 70 feet.

The 140-ton eight-engine seaplane was made of birch and had a wingspan of 320 feet. It was built as a prototype troop transport, but after it was rejected by the Pentagon, Hughes put the plane into storage, never to be flown again.

H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose"

In 1966, Hughes arrived at the Desert Inn hotel in Las Vegas, renting the two top floors. When the management asked him when he was leaving, ten days later, Hughes purchased the hotel for $13.2 million, half of which he paid in cash.

In the last ten years of his life, 1966 to 1976, Hughes lived in hotels in many cities, always taking up residence in the top floor penthouse.

Howard Hughes kept a ruler in his hotel room to measure any peas he ordered, sending back those that were 'too big'.

To ease his insomnia, Hughes once reportedly bought a local TV station, KLAS, so they would show movies all night.

Hughes was reported to have died on April 5, 1976 of kidney failure, at 1:27 p.m. on board an aircraft en route from his penthouse at the Acapulco Fairmont Princess Hotel in Mexico to the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.

His reclusive activities made Hughes practically unrecognizable when he died. His hair, beard, fingernails, and toenails were long—his tall 6 ft 4 in frame weighed barely 90 pounds, and the FBI had to use fingerprints to conclusively identify the body.

Howard Hughes is buried in the Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, Texas, next to his parents.

Hughes Family Gravesite at Glenwood Cemetery. Wikipedia Commons

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