Howard Hughes became famous after an historic flight around the world, producing Hollywood movies, building Las Vegas casinos and resorts, and constructing a fleet of airplanes. Hughes was also famous for bilking the American taxpayer out of tens of millions of dollars through his philanthropic projects, projects whose sole purpose seemed to be his personal enrichment. Hughes also lied to the stockholders of his company, assisted Senator Joseph McCarthy's congressional hearings, and was an outspoken supporter of racial segregation.
Hughes was born Howard Robard Hughes Jr., on December 24, 1905 in Humble, Texas. His date of birth is a matter of debate, as Hughes himself claimed that he was born on Christmas Eve, but baptismal records show that he was born on September 24. His father, Howard Sr., invented the tri-cone roller bit, an invention which allowed companies to drill for oil in places that had been previously inaccessible. Hughes Sr. would found the Hughes Tool Company in order to market his invention, and this company would hold a virtual monopoly on drill bits for many years. When Howard Jr. grew up, he would move to Hollywood, become a movie producer, become romantically involved with many of the leading starlets of that time such as Jane Russell and Katherine Hepburn. Hughes would also become the head of TWA. In his later years he fell into a state of degenerative madness that would make him a both a prisoner who was afraid to leave his hotel room, and a recluse.
Howard Hughes had everything that a man could want, except happiness. He was wealthy in terms of dollars and cents, but poverty stricken in terms of peace of mind.
This report prepared by Nathaniel Ford