Businessman, Motion Picture Producer, Director. He was an Academy Award-winning producer and director, aviator and businessman. Howard Hughes was born in Houston on December 24, 1905 to wealthy parents. His father had invented a revolutionary new oil drilling bit that was able to cut cleaner through rock; as a result, he made a fortune during the exploding Texas oil boom years. Howard was brought up into the business, studied at Rice University, and when his father passed away in 1924, he inherited the Hughes Tool Company at the age of 19. Using his great wealth, he was able to chase his two dreams: aviation and motion pictures. Breaking into Hollywood in 1927, Hughes was initially sneered at as just another rich kid until his first two films Everybody's Acting and Two Arabian Knights were runaway hits - with Hughes winning an Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy Picture for Knights. The Racket  and The Front Page  followed, both earning Oscar nominations, culminating in 1932's classic films Hell's Angels and Scarface. He was a notorious ladies man, having public affairs with Katherine Hepburn, Gene Tierney, Bette Davis and Ava Gardner. Hughes then started to turn his primary interest to aviation, his last important film being 1942's The Outlaw. He started Hughes Aircraft, where he spent all his time designing, building and test piloting innovative airplanes that broke world records in speed. His H-1 Racer was the first to have retractable landing gear; he broke his own transcontinental flight records repeatedly; he broke the world record for flying around the globe; for his achievements in aviation, he won a Congressional Gold Medal in 1939. In 1946, Hughes was involved in a disastrous experimental aircraft accident that caused him massive injuries; it is believed that the painkillers, among them morphine and opiates, are what began his slow descent into addiction. He continued work on what he considered his masterpiece, the Hughes H-4 Hercules (which the press renamed as the Spruce Goose), which would become the largest aircraft to ever fly, although it was years behind schedule and only flew once in November 1947. In 1948, Hughes purchased a 25% share of RKO, but Hughes was by this time exhibiting his growing need for total control over everything, and production was slow. He finally gained control over the studio in 1954 only to sell it in 1955; but he retained all rights to the films he had personally produced. He married actress Jean Peters in 1957 but his compulsive disorders had grown so severe that he had become reclusive to the point of speaking even to his wife mostly over the phone. His seclusion over the next few years was so pronounced that he often had to make calls to newspapers to prove that he wasn't dead. He continued his slide into madness, becoming addicted to valium and heroin. He bought TV stations just so he would have something to watch during his bouts of insomnia. During the last years of his life, he moved from one hotel to another, from Beverly Hills to the Bahamas. He bought the Desert Inn in Las Vegas just so he would always have a place to stay, then started buying up other casinos, which ended the Mafia's hold on the city. He set up his organization on the Desert Inn's eighth floor and began work restructuring Las Vegas into something more accessible and less seedy. He died aboard an airplane flying from Acapulco, Mexico to a hospital in his hometown of Houston. By the time of his death he was physically ruined, weighing less than 90 pounds, his hair and nails grown out of control, his drug problem so severe that broken needles were found in his arms by X-rays. The FBI had to identify him by his fingerprints. Howard Hughes died of kidney failure at the age of 70.
Bio by: Screwtape