Sunday, March 16, 2008
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
At home, I'm reading "Howard Hughes: His Life and Madness," a biography the legendary reclusive billionaire. My interest in rediscovering Hughes developed after watching the movie, "Hoax," the true story of how author Clifford Irving tried to fool the publishing world in 1971 with a fake "autobiography" of Howard Hughes. In reality, he had absolutely no connection with Hughes, a fact which was made clear through a telephone press conference with Hughes himself, the last time he made any sort of public "appearance" (he died in 1976). After seeing "Hoax," I took another look at the Hughes biopic, "Aviator," and then decided to see out more information. I also happen to know someone who was a contract actress with Hughes in the 1950's, and has a memories of Hughes that are quite in contrast with the generally accepted image of a severely disturbed man - an image, we sometimes forget, that was forged in the last few years of his life.
This book, published a few years after his death, explores Hughes' life from his family background to his bizarre ending. I'll be curious to follow this book up with a more recent biography that might include further insights and research gathered over the last thirty years.
In my car, I'm listening to an audio book, "Andrew Carnegie," a portrait of the 19th and early 20th Century industrialist and philanthropist that had a major impact in those two areas that is still felt today. He began life in a small Scottish industrial town and ultimately became one of the wealthiest men of his time. He was also as far as you can get from the emotionally crippled Howard Hughes. It's an interesting exercise to read/listen to both biographies simultaneously. I ordered the Carnegie book as a direct reaction to reading about Hughes - I find these massively successful people fascinating in their individuality.