The First Billionaire

When Howard Hughes, Sr. died, his son became a millionaire. He inherited the Hughes Tool Company, but decided to go into the movie making business. After marrying a Houston socialite, he threw himself into risky ventures.

In the late 1920s, Howard Hughes, Jr. turned his attention to aviation. He started his own aircraft company in 1932, Hughes Aviation. In 1940 he bought controlling interest in Trans World Airlines. He would buy RKO Pictures, several airlines, television stations, and several hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.

Hughes got married for a second time in 1957, but this marriage failed like the first one. Hughes eventually left the country and lived the life a a hermit. He was phobic about germs and succumbed to drug addiction.

He was the world’s first billionaire, but that did him little good when he died in 1976, while being flown back to the United States for medical treatment. He died alienated and alone. And I’m sure that in his final moments, he would have gladly traded places with anyone wealthy enough to have a phone, just so he could have some to talk to.

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