A Tribute to Howard Hughes
Hall of Financial Giants
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Estimated wealth (today's dollars): $174 Million
Howard Hughes Jr. was born on Christmas Eve, 1906 in Houston, Texas. He was commonly known as Sonny, or Little Howard, despite the fact that he was 6'3" by the age of 16. Hughes was the student of 7 different schools, of which he graduated from none, excelling only in mathematics. As a young man, Hughes had a penchant for all things mechanical and was known to spend hours tinkering on various different devices. Little Howard had only one friend, the son of his father's business partner, Dudley Sharp.
At the age of 6, Howard Hughes Sr. presented his son with the gift of a workshop, where his son could always be found playing with various bits of wires and pieces of metal. At the age of 11, Little Howard built his own ham radio, and at the age of 13, when refused the gift of a motorcycle, Hughes built one himself, taking parts from his father's steam car. As a graduate of Harvard, Big Howard sought his son to have the same education, and sent his son to boarding school in Massachusetts in fall of 1919.
After one year had passed, it became apparent that Sonny was not going to succeed in grooming school. Big Howard traveled across the country to collect his son, and they attended a boat race on the way home. After losing a bet to his son on the outcome of the race, Big Howard was forced to grant him one wish. That summer, Sonny took flying lessons with various crop dusters against the wishes of both of his parents. It was here that Hughes would develop his love of aviation.
In 1921, oil drilling and prospecting took off in California, and Hughes Sr. relocated to Hollywood, and took his son with him. After a generous donation to the California Institute of Technology, Sonny was able to attend mathematics and engineering courses. In the fall of 1923, Mrs. Hughes passed away, and a little over a year later in January of 1924, Big Howard passed as well. At the age of 17, it would seem that Hughes was not prepared to enter the world of adulthood, but he would quickly prove otherwise.
Sonny was the inheritor of 75% of Hughes Tool, of which he would be granted control at the age of 21. Eager to take responsibility of his own affairs, Hughes appeared before a Texas judge to appeal the legal guidelines set forth in his father's will. Against the advice of Little Howard's remaining family, the judge granted Hughes his wish, and a great deal of wealth and power was put into a young man's hands. Biography from http://users.erols.com/dbarrese
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