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Howard Hughes Biography and Filmography
Howard Hughes
Birthday: September 24, 1905
Birth Place: Humble, Texas, USA
Height: 6' 4"
Below is a complete filmography (list of movies he's appeared in)
for Howard Hughes.
If you have any corrections or additions, please email us.
We'd also be interested in any trivia or other information you have.
Multi-millionaire businessman, film producer, film director, and aviator, born in Houston, Texas. He studied at prestigious Rice University and the even more prestigious California Institute of Technology. Inherited his father's machine tool company in 1923. In 1926 he ventured into films, producing Hell's Angels (1930), Scarface (1932) and The Outlaw (1943). He also founded his own aircraft company, designed, built and flew his own aircraft, and broke several world air speed records (1935-1938). His most famous aircraft, the Hercules (nicknamed "The Spruce Goose"), was an oversized wooden seaplane designed to carry 750 passengers, which was completed in 1947 but flew only once over a distance of one mile. Throughout his life he shunned publicity, eventually becoming a recluse but still controlling his vast business interests from sealed-off hotel suites, and giving rise to endless rumors and speculation. In 1971 an "authorized" biography was announced, but the authors wound up in prison for fraud, and the mystery surrounding him continued until his death.
The Conqueror (1956)
[ Agnes Moorehead ][ Susan Ward ]
Son of Sinbad (1955)
[ Kim Novak ][ Joi Lansing ][ Lili St-Cyr ]
She Couldn't Say No (1954)
[ Jean Simmons ]
Louisiana Territory (1953)
Devil's Canyon (1953)
Affair with a Stranger (1953)
[ Jean Simmons ]
Angel Face (1952)
[ Jean Simmons ]
The Las Vegas Story (1952)
[ Jane Russell ]
Two Tickets to Broadway (1951)
[ Janet Leigh ][ Vera Miles ][ Mamie Van-Doren ][ Joi Lansing ]
His Kind of Woman (1951)
[ Jane Russell ][ Mamie Van-Doren ]
Flying Leathernecks (1951)
The Outlaw (1943)
[ Jane Russell ]
Scarface (1932)
The Front Page (1931)
Hell's Angels (1930)
[ Jean Harlow ]
The Mating Call (1928)
The Racket (1928)
Two Arabian Knights (1927)
  • Ice Station Zebra (1968) is reported to have been his favorite movie. (The 2005 DVD release was packaged with a trailer for _The Aviator (2004)_ (see below).
  • Before his death, he lived as a recluse, and Albert R. Broccoli (the producer of the James Bond franchise) used his reclusiveness from the public as a model for the character Willard Whyte in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Hughes was a fan of the James Bond films, and he kept a 16mm print of the film as a part of his private collection.
  • Nephew of actor/screenwriter Rupert Hughes.
  • The Las Vegas casinos he once owned were Castaways, Desert Inn, Frontier, Landmark, Sands and Silver Slipper. As of November 2001, all but the Frontier have been demolished.
  • He bought Las Vegas television station KLAS (Channel 8), so that he could watch movies into the night. If he fell asleep during a film, he would call up the station and order that the scene he missed be replayed.
  • While he was staying in Las Vegas' Desert Inn Hotel-Casino resort, he bought the establishment in order to avoid being evicted.
  • His father was the inventor of the "Hughes Rock Eater", a self-sharpening drill bit used for drilling oil wells that is still in use today. Hughes inherited several million dollars, but earned the vast majority of his wealth from his own business ventures. Hughes Aircraft and Hughes Helicopters alone were worth .5 billion when they were finally sold in the early 80s.
  • Was a major stock holder in an airline that later became TWA.
  • He once had an air purifier installed into a car with sealed windows. The purifier cost more than the car, and took up most of the trunk.
  • In his later years, he insisted that his personal assistants be Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). Reportedly, this was because Hughes did not want any of his personal assistants drunk on the job, and Mormons are forbidden to drink alcohol.
  • Attended the prestigious Rice University in the 20s, before dropping out and moving to Hollywood
  • In public he would often speak with his hand covering his mouth, for fear of being lip-read.
  • After Hughes died, former starlet Terry Moore claimed they had secretly married on a yacht in international waters off Mexico in 1949 and never divorced. In 1984, Hughes's estate paid Moore an undisclosed settlement.
  • Authorized to be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, 7 August 1939 (53 Stat. 1525). Award was "... in recognition of the achievements of Howard Hughes in advancing the science of aviation and thus bringing great credit to his country throughout the world[.]"
  • The place in Texas he was born in, Humble, is pronounced "UM-bull". The 'h' is silent.
  • He had affairs with several of the most famous actresses in Hollywood, among them Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Ginger Rogers, and Ava Gardner. As time went on, he went out of his way to "discover" attractive young starlets (most of whom never hit it big), just so he could sleep with them. He continued this until he stopped producing films in the late 1950s.
  • In the 50s, Robert Mitchum was selected by Hughes to appear in a series of films he was producing. Hughes considered Mitchum a "friend," but (as a paranoid recluse) hardly met the actor. Mitchum was half-way put-off and half-way amused by this "crazy, old man" and clearly saw that he was a surrogate for Hughes as the strapping actor "romanced" young starlets on screen.
  • He became obsessed with the "Communist threat" in the early 1950s, having written a series of paranoid articles on the subject that he sent out to newspapers from seclusion.
  • It has variously been hypothesized that his crazed behavior in his later, reclusive years was caused by brain damage resulting from a series of accidents, OCD, bipolar disorder, or even paranoid-schizophrenia.
  • When he produced films, he became obsessed with busty actresses and famously invented a prototype of the push-up bra to make Jane Russell as busty as possible in The Outlaw (1943). Most of the movies he produced are typlified by beautiful, half-naked women and nonsensical action sequences.
  • His reported appearance when he was found dead was extremely bizarre. He was covered in uncut, matted hair, had extremely long toenails, and the once strapping, 6' 4" man weighed an incredibly low 90 pounds.
  • The Aviator (2004), the movie based on his life, was released on what would have been his 99th birthday.
  • Houston, Texas has two major commercial airports: William P. Hobby Airport, and Houston Intercontinental Airport. For a brief period, Hobby Airport was renamed Howard Hughes airport. Houstonians objected to it being named after a living person, so this change was short lived, and the name eventually reverted back to being Hobby Airport. In 1997, Intercontinental Airport was renamed Bush Intercontinental, after the still-living President George Bush, whose son was Governor of Texas at the time.
  • Had a strong aversion to black people. For many years he had a private screening room at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Hollywood where he would watch movies by himself at night. In 1958 he found out that the cast of Porgy and Bess (1959), an all-black musical being made on the lot, was using the screening room each afternoon to watch the footage that had been shot the previous day. Horrified that blacks used the same room he did, and that some may even have sat in the same seat he did, he shut down the screening room, left the Goldwyn lot and for the remainder of his life never returned to it.
  • Became obsessed with Communism during the McCarthy "Red Scare" era. His film The Whip Hand (1951) was originally about a group of Nazi scientists who smuggled the body of Adolf Hitler into the U.S. and worked to revive Hitler in order to try to take over the world again. After it was finished Hughes had it reshot, at great expense, to change the villains into Nazi scientists who are now working for the Communists and have taken over a small American town in order to test germ warfare experiments on its citizens before they unleash the deadly viruses in the U.S.
  • On July 7, 1946, actress Rosemary DeCamp and her husband were in their house in Beverly Hills, California, when an aircraft piloted by Hughes crashed into the roof of the house next door, and its wing was torn off and sliced through the roof of her house, landing in the bedroom, where she and her husband were. The plane, an experimental model Hughes had developed called the XF-11, had experienced propeller reversal on the right engine after taking off from the airport at nearby Culver City. It finally came to rest after crashing through the wall of the house of another of DeCamp's neighbors and exploding. Hughes was rescued from the cockpit by Marine Sergeant, William Lloyd Durkin. Hughes was severely injured with a broken leg, multiple cracked ribs on his left side, a dislodged heart, a fractured skull, burns and abrasions over 65% of his body. He was given a 50-50 chance to survive. He paid for the damage to the houses in the neighborhood out of his own pocket and Hughes awarded Durkin a weekly paycheck until the day he died.
  • Is portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (2004), by Victor Holchak in Hughes and Harlow: Angels in Hell (1978), by Tommy Lee Jones in The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) (TV), by Jason Robards in Melvin and Howard (1980), by Terry O'Quinn in The Rocketeer (1991) and by Dean Stockwell in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)
  • Is portrayed by David Neff in Bettie Page: Dark Angel (2004)

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