Billionaire Businessman, Film Producer, and Aviator
One of the most eccentric billionaires of all times, Howard Hughes, brought hope to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada in 1966, when he began to de-mob the city and make it safe for companies to do business. Did you know the city of Las Vegas was changed just because Howard Hughes showed up? Robert A. Maheu (Hughes right hand man) said, “He cleaned up the image of Las Vegas. I had the heads of large corporate entities tell me they would never thought of coming here before Hughes came.” Howard Hughes was hard-headed, hard to work for, and a high-roller who helped a hurting Las Vegas.
Hughes built the Spruce Goose which is the largest plane ever constructed. But it only had one flight on November 2, 1947. It flew only one mile at an altitude of 70 feet for just one minute. On July 10, 1938, Hughes broke the record to fly around the world in 3 days, 19 hours. He also was a Hollywood film maker who produced many films. One film he produced was called The Las Vegas Story, in 1952.
Impact on Nevada
Howard Hughes was very successful in buying real estate, hotels and casinos in Nevada. Before he died on April 5, 1976, he owned 20% of Las Vegas hotels and casinos. In his first visit to Las Vegas, he rented out the top two floors of the Desert Inn and lived there for months. Because he was willing to invest in Las Vegas and cleaned up its image, many other businesses followed him to Vegas. The community of Summerlin was developed by the Howard Hughes Corporation and named after Howard Hughes grandmother, Jean Amelia Summerlin.
Howard Hughes had a very one of a kind personality. He lived in a Hollywood screening studio for five months and only ate and drank Hershey bars pecans and milk. He had a four foot safe zone where no one could enter which meant no one could get within four feet of him. He hired an employee whose only job was to catch flies, but he could not swat them because he feared germs would spread.