Hughes, Howard (Robard)(1905–76) industrialist, aviator, movie producer; born in Houston, Texas. In 1924 he inherited the Hughes Tool Company worth $650,000; eventually it became a multimillion dollar corporation, making him fabulously rich. He went to Hollywood and produced movies such as Hell's Angels (1930), Scarface (1932), and The Outlaw (1943); during these years he was involved with a succession of actresses; from 1948–55 he owned RKO, Hollywood's fifth largest studio. He had learned to fly, and from 1935 to 1938 he established three major speed records, receiving a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1941. Over the years, his business dealings led to much litigation and he became increasingly more eccentric and reclusive; from 1966 until his death he lived in "germ-free" hotel suites. In 1971 Clifford Irving claimed to have written an "authorized" biography of Hughes, but it was subsequently acknowledged as a fraud. Hughes's death led to a spate of lawsuits over attempts to establish his true will and heirs.
(1905–1976) eccentric millionaire; lived as recluse. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1284]