Fast Facts

  • Showed an interest in engineering and aviation from an early age: developed Houston's first wireless broadcast set at age 11; and began taking flying lessons at 14.
  • As a teenager, was unable to walk for several months due to temporary paralysis, which had no obvious physical cause and was believed to be psychologically induced.
  • Inherited his father's lucrative Hughes Tool Company in 1923, making him a millionaire at age 18.
  • Was enthusiastic about movies and produced several Hollywood films, including Two Arabian Knights (1928), Hell's Angels (1930) and Scarface (1932).
  • Set a number of world records in aviation, using his own custom-made aircrafts. Highlights include a land-plane-airspeed record of 352 mph, set in 1935; a transcontinental-airspeed record in 1937; and a record-setting around-the-world flight in 1938.
  • In 1944, won a government contract to design the Spruce Goose, an aircraft designed to support the war effort by carrying people and supplies overseas. It was the largest plane ever constructed and was only flown once.
  • Survived a near-fatal aircraft crash in 1946 that resulted in significant injuries.
  • Displayed signs of mental illness, particularly obsessive-compulsive disorder and allodynia, a painful condition that caused him to neglect basic hygiene and grooming in his later years.
  • Began to withdraw from the public eye in the 1950s and eventually became a complete recluse.
  • Was the subject of a hoax in 1972, when author Clifford Irving claimed to have written an authorized biography of Hughes. However, the two men had never actually met, and Irving was eventually convicted of fraud.


  • Allene Stone Gano — Mother
  • Ella Rice — Ex-wife
  • Howard R. Hughes Sr. — Father
  • Terry Moore — Ex-significant Other
  • Jean Peters — Ex-wife
  • Ava Gardner — Ex-significant Other
  • Katharine Hepburn — Ex-significant Other


  • Attended California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States; attended Rice University, Houston, Texas, United States


  • Birth Name: Howard Robard Hughes Jr.
  • Birth Place: Houston, Texas, United States
  • Died: April 5, 1976
  • Profession: Aviator, Producer

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