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Howard Hughes, Jr.

Born: December 24, 1905, Houston, Harris, Texas
Died: April 5, 1976 (aged 70), Houston, Texas

Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American aviator, industrialist, film producer/director, philanthropist, and one of the wealthiest people in the world. He gained fame in the late 1920s as a maverick film producer, making big budget and often controversial films like Hell's Angels, Scarface, and The Outlaw.

As an aviator, Hughes set multiple world air-speed records (for which he won many awards, including the Congressional Gold Medal), built the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 "Hercules" aircraft, and acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines. Hughes is also remembered for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle in later life, evidently caused in part by a worsening case of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Hughes' legacy is still visible through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and he remains one of the most influential aviators in American history.

What do you know about Howard Hughes, Jr.? Try this quick quiz.

1. A 1941 affidavit birth certificate of Hughes, signed by his aunt Annette Gano Lummis and Estelle Boughton Sharp, states he was born on December 24, 1905, in Houston, Texas. True or False?

2. On June 1, 1925, he married and they moved to Los Angeles, where he hoped to make a name for himself making movies. Who did he marry?

3. On July 11, 1936, a car driven by Hughes struck and killed a pedestrian named Gabriel Meyer at the corner of 3rd Street and Lorraine in Los Angeles. He was taken to jail and booked on "suspicion of negligent homicide." A witness to the accident told police that Hughes was driving erratically and too fast, and that Meyer had been standing in the safety zone of a streetcar stop. What happened at the coroner's inquiry?

4. Hughes was a lifelong aircraft enthusiast, pilot and aircraft engineer. At Rogers Airport in Los Angeles, he learned to fly from pioneer aviators. He set many world records and designed and built several aircraft himself while heading Hughes Aircraft at the airport in Glendale. When did have a near fatal crash?

5. Hughes Aircraft Company, a division of Hughes Tool Company, was originally founded by Hughes in 1932, in a rented corner of a Lockheed Aircraft Corporation hangar in Burbank, California, to carry out the expensive conversion of a military aircraft into the H-1 racer. During and after World War II, Hughes fashioned his company into a major defense contractor. When did he form the Hughes Helicopters division when helicopter manufacturer Kellett sold their latest design to Hughes for production?

6. In 1939, at the urging of Jack Frye, Hughes quietly purchased a majority share of stock for nearly US$7 million and took control of the airline. What was the airline?

7. In 1948, Hughes gained control of RKO, a struggling major Hollywood studio, by acquiring 25% of the outstanding stock from Floyd Odlum's Atlas Corporation. In 1957, the studio lots in Hollywood and Culver City were sold. Who purchased the lots for $6.15 million?

8. Hughes died on April 5, 1976, at 1:27 PM while on an aircraft owned by Robert Graf, en route from his penthouse in Freeport Grand Bahama to The Methodist Hospital in Houston. His reclusive activities and drug use had made him practically unrecognizable; his hair, beard, fingernails, and toenails had grown quite long, his tall 6'4" frame now weighed barely 90-pounds. How was he identified?

9. Where is Howard Hughes, Jr. buried?

Howard Hughes, Jr. Answers

1. True, but maybe false. His baptismal record of October 7, 1906, in the parish register of St. John's Episcopal Church, in Keokuk, Iowa, has his birth listed as September 24, 1905, without any reference to the place of birth.

2. Ella Botts Rice (1904-1992), daughter of David Rice and Martha Lawson Botts of Houston, Texas.

3. The District Attorney recommended that Hughes be cleared of responsibility for Meyer's death.

4. Hughes was involved in a near-fatal aircraft accident on July 7, 1946, while piloting the experimental U.S. Army reconnaissance XF-11 over Los Angeles. Hughes sustained significant injuries in the crash; including a crushed collar bone, 24 broken ribs and numerous third-degree burns. The trademark moustache he wore afterwards was meant to cover a scar on his upper lip resulting from the accident.

5. 1947

6. Trans World Airline (TWA)

7. Desilu Productions

8. The FBI had to resort to fingerprints to identify the body.

Angels on your pillow9. Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, Texas next to his parents.  Plot: Oakdale Section

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