On Wednesday, November 23rd, Warren Beatty returns to the big screen to direct and star in Rules Don’t Apply, as the infamous Howard Hughes, the 20th century Renaissance Man whose entrepreneurial spirit and eccentric behavior was the stuff of legend. We’ve seen the Hughes portrayed previously on screen by Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004’s Aviator, but here are 10 things you never knew about one of the world’s wealthiest men.
1. Hughes was a millionaire by the time he turned 18.
Hughes’ father Howard Hughes Sr. tried his luck at the oil and drilling industry and when he died in 1924, his son inherited his business and patents. Hughes dropped out of Rice University and set his sights on Hollywood.
The film cost a whopping $4 million. When two directors dropped out the film after clashing with the young Texas millionaire, Hughes took the reigns. Hughes was desperate the make the World War I action-adventure film as realistic as possible, so he hired real pilots and a fleet of aircrafts. (Three pilots died during production.) Hughes even crashed a plane himself. Though the film was initially shot as a silent film, Hughes reshot the entire thing following the release of the first sound flick, The Jazz Singer in 1927, Luckily, the film was a hit.
3. Hughes set an around the world flight record.
As a result of his passion for flying, Howard Hughes founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. In 1935, Hughes broke the record for flying a plane over land, traveling 352 miles per hour. However, his real feat was an around the world flight. He set off from Brooklyn with stops in Connecticut, Siberia, Paris, Moscow, Minneapolis which he completed in three days, 19 hours and 17 minutes.
4. His infamous Spruce Goose Aircraft was only flown once.
During War World II, Hughes worked with the U.S. government to construct a massive aircraft capable of transporting 700 troops. It was called the Spruce Goose and was the largest aircraft ever constructed. Unfortunately, it was not completed by the end of the war. On November 2, 1947, Hughes piloted its first and only flight. It was only a mile long trip. Until the end of his life, Hughes shelled out millions of dollars to store the aircraft in a climate controlled air-hanger. It’s now at the aviation museum in Oregon.
5. Hughes was a notorious playboy.
He dated young starlets like Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, and Ginger Rogers among other.
6. He had OCD.
Hughes’ OCD got so terrible that he began using wearing tissue boxes on his feet and only slept in hotel rooms.
7. Howard Hughes Jr. was involved in a CIA coverup.
Hughes was roped into a coverup when the US government discovered a sunken Soviet submarine. To gather the intelligence in the sub without alerting anyone, the government devised an elaborate story called Project Arizona. According to the CIA, The Hughes Glomer Explorer was built by Howard Hughes to mine metals from the ocean floor. Unfortunatly, the CIA’s lie was discovered.
8. Hughes once spent four months living off of only chocolate bars and milk.
He once holed up in a screening studio to watch films. He stopped keeping up with hygiene and only ate chocolate and drank milk.
9. A Vegas Hotel once tried to kick him out, so he bought the place!
In 1966, Hughes arrived in Vegas and took up residence at the Las Vegas Desert Inn Penthouse. When the hotel tried to kick him out to make room for high-rolling guest, Hughes bought the place for $13 million.
10. A Howard Hughes autobiography turned out to be a hoax.
Shortly after Hughe’s death, a writer named Clifford Irving came forward stating that he had helped Hughes write an autobiography. Doubts swirled around about the validity of Irving’s manuscript and after Irving admitted it was a lie he was forced to pay back his $765,000 advance and spend 14 months in jail for the fraud.
Rules Don’t Apply hits theaters Wednesday, November 23rd!