Howard Hughes Biography

howard hughes bip picClaim to Fame: Aviator/Engineer, Film Producer/Director
Date of Birth: December 25, 1905
Date of Death: April 5, 1976
Diabetes Type: Type 2

Quote: “Once you consent to some concession, you can never cancel it and put things back the way they are.”

One of the most famed billionaires in American history, Howard Hughes applied his skills early on as a businessman to dramatically influence the film and aviation industries in the United States.

Born in Texas in 1905, Howard Robard Hughes Jr. experienced health challenges starting in his early childhood. He suffered from social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, conditions that impacted his decisions and behavior throughout his life. As a solitary boy, Hughes obsessively spent his time designing and building machines, fueling his passion for mechanical engineering.

As a young man, Hughes developed skills by attending the Rice Institute in his home city of Houston and the California Institute of Technology. When he was 16, he experienced the death of his mother — two years later, his father died. He inherited over $800,000 and won the rights to his father's business empire, The Hughes Tool Company, as a teenager. He left school to manage the company and used his newfound wealth to explore the Hollywood film industry, financing memorable films such as Hell's Angels and Scarface. Hughes's activity in Hollywood later associated him with actresses such as Ava Gardener, Katherine Hepburn, and Jean Peters, leading to his reputation as a playboy.

In the 1930s, Hughes turned his attention to his love of aviation. He obtained his pilot's license in 1928 and founded the Hughes Aircraft Company only four years later. Designing and flying his own airplanes, Hughes set his first world flying speed record in 1935 and a world flight record in 1938. As a result of these successes, Hughes began to receive grants from the military to produce aircraft and weapon technology for the U.S Airforce and Navy. Hughes began working on his largest project, a massive seaplane made of wood, in 1939. This project was nicknamed "The Spruce Goose," and it was intended to be a troop carrier for World War II soldiers — Hughes only managed to fly the plane once.

Hughes's mental and physical health was compromised after he experienced a nervous breakdown in 1944 and was injured in a plane crash two years later. Hughes developed a drug addiction and a reclusive lifestyle, haunted by episodes of paranoia so severe he would refuse to leave his home. He died at the age of 71 from chronic renal failure after a period of self-neglect, malnutrition, and drug abuse. Hughes is remembered for his impressive contributions to aviary technology and his creation of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Last Modified Date: November 28, 2012

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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