Wikipedia – Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes

Howard Hughes 1938.jpg

Hughes in 1938 (foto Wikipedia)
Howard Robard Hughes Jr

December 24, 1905

Houston, Texas, US
Died April 5, 1976, Aged 70

En Route via Air from Mexico to Houston, Texas, US.
Resting place Glenwood Cemetery
Alma mater Rice University (dropped out in 1924)[1]
Occupation(s) Chairman and CEO of Summa Corporation
Founder of The Howard Hughes Corporation
Founder of the Hughes Aircraft Company
Founder and benefactor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Owner of Hughes Airwest Airlines
Years active 1926 – 1976
Board member of Hughes Aircraft Company
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Ella Botts Rice

Married 1925, Divorced 1929

Married 1957, Divorced 1971

Parent Howard R Hughes Sr, Father
Relatives John Gano, Ancestor, Rupert Hughes, Uncle
Awards Harmon Trophy, 1936, 1938
Collier Trophy (1938)
Congressional Gold Medal, 1939
Octave Chanute Award (1940)
National Aviation Hall of Fame , 1973

Aviation Career

Famous Flights Hughes H 1 Racer, Trans Continental Airspeed Record from Los Angeles to Newark, NJ, 1937, Round the World Airspeed Record, 1938


Howard Hughes signature.svg
Howard Hughes Signature (foto Wikipedia)

Howard Robard Hughes Jr. December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976 was an American business magnate, Record Setting Pilot, Fngineer, [2] Film Producer, and Philanthropist, known during his Lifetime as One of the Most Influential and Richest People in the World. He First became Prominent as A Film Poducer, and then as an important figure in the aviation industry. Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle—oddities that were caused in part by his worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain from a near-fatal plane crash, and increasing deafness.

As a film tycoon, Hughes gained fame in Hollywood beginning in the late 1920s, when he produced big-budget and often controversial films such as The Racket (1928),[3] Hell’s Angels (1930),[4] and Scarface (1932). He later acquired the RKO Pictures film studio in 1948, recognized then as one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood’s Golden Age, although the production company struggled under his control and ultimately ceased operations in 1957.

Through his interest in aviation and aerospace travel, Hughes formed the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932, hiring numerous engineers, designers, and defense contractors.[5][6]: 163, 259  He spent the rest of the 1930s and much of the 1940s setting multiple world air speed records and building the Hughes H-1 Racer (1935) and H-4 Hercules (the Spruce Goose, 1947), the latter being the largest flying boat in history and having the longest wingspan of any aircraft from the time it was built until 2019. He acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines and later acquired Air West, renaming it Hughes Airwest. Hughes won the Harmon Trophy on two occasions (1936 and 1938), the Collier Trophy (1938), and the Congressional Gold Medal (1939) all for his achievements in aviation throughout the 1930s. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973 and was included in Flying magazine’s 2013 list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation, ranked at No. 25.[7]

During his final years, Hughes extended his financial empire to include several major businesses in Las Vegas, such as real estate, hotels, casinos, and media outlets. Known at the time as one of the most powerful men in the state of Nevada, he is largely credited with transforming Vegas into a more refined cosmopolitan city. After years of mental and physical decline, Hughes died of kidney failure in 1976. His legacy is maintained through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Howard Hughes Corporation.[8]

Early life

Howard Hughes in April 1912 (foto Wikipedia)

Howard Hughes’s House (foto Wikipedia)

Howard Robard Hughes Jr. was the son of Allene Stone Gano (1883–1922) and of Howard R. Hughes Sr. (1869–1924), a successful inventor and businessman from Missouri. He had English, Welsh and some French Huguenot ancestry,[9] and was a descendant of John Gano (1727–1804), the minister who allegedly baptized George Washington.[10]

Hughes Sr. patented the two-cone roller bit in 1909, which allowed rotary drilling for petroleum in previously inaccessible places. The senior Hughes made the shrewd and lucrative decisions to commercialize the invention by: leasing the bits instead of selling them, obtaining several early patents, and founding the Hughes Tool Company in 1909.

Hughes’s uncle was the famed novelist, screenwriter, and film director Rupert Hughes.[11]

A 1941 affidavit birth certificate of Hughes, signed by his aunt Annette Gano Lummis and by Estelle Boughton Sharp, states that he was born on December 24, 1905, in Harris County, Texas.[N 1] However, his certificate of baptism, recorded on October 7, 1906, in the parish register of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Keokuk, Iowa, listed his date of birth as September 24, 1905, without any reference to the place of birth.[N 2]

At a young age, Hughes Jr. showed interest in science and technology. In particular, he had a great engineering aptitude, and built Houston’s first “wireless” radio transmitter at age 11.[12] He went on to be one of the first licensed ham-radio operators in Houston, having the assigned callsign W5CY (originally 5CY).[13] At 12, Hughes was photographed for the local newspaper, which identified him as the first boy in Houston to have a “motorized” bicycle, which he had built from parts of his father’s steam engine.[14] He was an indifferent student, with a liking for mathematics, flying, and mechanics. He took his first flying lesson at 14, and attended Fessenden School in Massachusetts in 1921.

After a brief stint at The Thacher School, Hughes attended math and aeronautical engineering courses at Caltech.[12][14] The red-brick house where Hughes lived as a teenager at 3921 Yoakum Blvd., Houston, still stands, now known as Hughes House on the grounds of the University of St. Thomas.[15][16]

His mother Allene died in March 1922 from complications of an ectopic pregnancy. Howard Hughes Sr. died of a heart attack in 1924. Their deaths apparently inspired Hughes to include the establishment of a medical research laboratory in the will that he signed in 1925 at age 19. Howard Sr.’s will had not been updated since Allene’s death, and Hughes Jr. inherited 75% of the family fortune.[17] On his 19th birthday, Hughes was declared an emancipated minor, enabling him to take full control of his life.[18]

From a young age, Hughes became a proficient and enthusiastic golfer. He often scored near-par figures, playing the game to a two-three handicap during his 20s, and for a time aimed for a professional golf career. He golfed frequently with top players, including Gene Sarazen. Hughes rarely played competitively and gradually gave up his passion for the sport to pursue other interests.[19]

Hughes played golf every afternoon at LA courses including the Lakeside Golf Club, Wilshire Country Club, or the Bel-Air Country Club. Partners included George Von Elm or Ozzie Carlton. After Hughes hurt himself in the late 1920s, his golfing tapered off, and after his XF-11 crash, Hughes was unable to play at all.[6]: 56–57, 73, 196 

Hughes withdrew from Rice University shortly after his father’s death. On June 1, 1925, he married Ella Botts Rice, daughter of David Rice and Martha Lawson Botts of Houston, and great-niece of William Marsh Rice, for whom Rice University was named. They moved to Los Angeles, where he hoped to make a name for himself as a filmmaker.

They moved into the Ambassador Hotel, and Hughes proceeded to learn to fly a Waco, while simultaneously producing his first motion picture, Swell Hogan.[6]<

Business Career

Hughes enjoyed a highly successful business career beyond engineering, aviation, and filmmaking; many of his career endeavors involved varying entrepreneurial roles.


Ralph Graves persuaded Hughes to finance a short film, Swell Hogan, which Graves had written and would star in. Hughes himself produced it. However, it was a disaster. After hiring a film editor to try to salvage it, he finally ordered that it be destroyed.[20] His next two films, Everybody’s Acting (1926) and Two Arabian Knights (1927), achieved financial success; the latter won the first Academy Award for Best Director of a comedy <id=”cite_ref-Noah_6-3″ class=”reference”>[6]: 45–46 

The Racket (1928) and The Front Page (1931) were also nominated for Academy Awards.

Hughes spent $3.5 million to make the flying film Hell’s Angels (1930).[6]: 52, 126  Hell’s Angels received one Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography.

He produced another hit, Scarface (1932), a production delayed by censors’ concern over its violence.[6]: 128 

The Outlaw premiered in 1943, but was not released nationally until 1946. The film featured Jane Russell, who received considerable attention from industry censors, this time owing to her revealing costumes.[6]: 152–160