Howard Hughes

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America's first billionaire, Howard Hughes was at times a pilot, a movie producer, a playboy, an eccentric, and a recluse.

As a teenager, he declared that his goals in life were to become the world's best golfer, the world's best pilot, and the world's best movie producer.

In aviation, Hughes set many world records, and designed and built aircraft for as well as heading Hughes Aviation; he was also a major stockholder in TWA. One of his best-known planes was the Spruce Goose, a massive flying boat completed just after the end of World War II which only flew once (with Hughes at the controls); the plane was the showpiece of a museum in Long Beach, California for many years before being moved to McMinnville, Oregon.

His best-known film may be The Outlaw. He also managed to woo many of Hollywood's most famous actresses, including Katherine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, and Jane Russell.

As time passed, Hughes descended into a reclusive, drug-addled life locked in darkened rooms and terrified of germs. He moved from hotel to hotel, from the Bevely Hills Hotel to Boston to Las Vegas, where he bought the Desert Inn (because they threatened to evict him) and several other hotel/casinos - he was known for modernizing Las Vegas by buying it from the Mafia. He bought television stations so that there would be something to watch when he was up all night with insomnia. He became addicted to codeine and other painkillers, was extremely frail, had an obsession with Kleenex boxes, and stored his urine in jars. As he deteriorated, he ended up moving to the Bahamas, Vancouver, London, and several other places, always in the top floor penthouse with the windows blacked out - and every time he moved out the hotel seemed to remodel to clean up after him.


(The Simpsons character Montgomery Burns appears to have been patterned after Hughes).