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Howard Hughes

Time, December 13, 1976

Howard Hughes: Worth 2.5 billion dollars at his death, he was the richest man in the United States. He owned a private fleet of jets, hotels and casinos. When asked to claim his body, his nearest relative, a distant cousin, exclaimed, "Is this Mr. Hughes?" He had spent the last 15 years of his life a drug addict, too weak in the end to even administer the shots to himself. His 6'4" frame had shrunk to 6'1" and he weighed only 90 lbs.

Not a single acquaintance or relative mourned his death. The only honor he received was a moment of silence in his Las Vegas casinos. Time magazine put it this way: "Howard Hughes' death was commemorated in Las Vegas by a minute of silence. Casinos fell silent. Housewives stood uncomfortable clutching their paper cups full of coins at the slot machines, the blackjack games paused, and at the crap tables the stickmen cradled the dice in the crook of their wooden wands. Then a pit boss looked at his watch, leaned forward and whispered, "O.K., roll the dice. He's had his minute."