Friendship Factor (15 of 40) by Stephen Whitney
This content is part of a series.Friendship Factor (15 of 40)
Howard Hughes was born in Texas in 1905. As a young boy he showed great interest in engineering. When he was just 11 years old he built the first radio transmitter in Huston. A year later he was photographed in the local newspaper as being the first boy in Houston to have a "motorized" bicycle, which he had built himself from parts taken from his father's steam engine. He didn't care for school but liked mathematics, flying, and mechanical things. He took his first flying lesson when he was just 14 years old.
His mother died when he was 17 and his father two years later, leaving him 75 per cent of the family fortune from The Hughes Tool Company. In 1925, a year after his father died, he moved to Los Angeles, where he hoped to make a name for himself making movies. He made several successful movies which included the Two Arabian Knights (1928), which won the first Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy Picture.
He was a lifelong aircraft enthusiast, pilot and aircraft engineer. He set many world records and designed and built several aircraft himself while heading Hughes Aircraft. He was involved in a near-fatal accident on July 7, 1946, while flying an experimental U.S. Army Air Force reconnaissance aircraft which crashed in a
Beverly Hills neighborhood.
He had founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932 and fashioned his company into a major defense contractor before, during and after Word War II. Later, in 1948 he created a new division of the company, the Hughes Aerospace Group.
As a result of his successful companies and investments he became a very wealthy individual worth several billion of dollars. He became a recluse who lived alone with no one to share his wealth.
He died on April 5, 1976 on board an aircraft and his $2.5 billion estate was eventually split among his 22 cousins. How tragic that in spite of all his money he lived ...
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