Falls From Grace: Howard Hughes


Hi Listeners is Vanessa. Did you hear that? The critically acclaimed series famous. Fates is back with a brand new season. It's true you can now hear season. Two titled Falls From Grace Exclusively on spotify. Join Carter and I as we examined the factors both personal and circumstantial that turned epic tales of fame into tragic ends of shame available for free and only on spotify falls from grace releases. Two new episodes every Wednesday each focusing on different scandalous figure and as a special treat. Here's Today's episode on the controversial life of film director Howard Hughes. If you'd like to hear today's other episode on disgraced filmmaker Roman Polanski head over to the famous fates feed and subscribe for free today but remember. These episodes are only available on spotify. Imagine a withered old man lying naked in rumpled bedsheets his long matted hair his scraggly beard just as overgrown his yellowing nails haven't been caught in months surrounding him are boxes of Kleenex and piles of discarded tissues. He wipes down everything he touches. Because despite his own filth. He's terrified that germs will sneak into his bedroom sanctuary and kill him. Of course it's hard to actually see any of this. The windows are blacked out in the room. Illuminated by little. More than a flicker of a television screen which the old man is said to never turn off. It's not likely that. This is the image dredge up when you think of America's richest men or most powerful This was the exact picture of Howard Hughes at the height of his power when he sought to put the American government in his pocket. Hi I'm Vanessa. Richardson and I'm Carter. Roy and this is season two of famous fates in this season called falls from grace will examine once revered historical figures whose stories ended in less than savory ways just like on last season of famous fates will look at what drove these fascinating people to the top and then delve into their appalling demise. Is we'll examine the factors personal and circumstantial that changed their stories from epic tales of success to tragic falls from grace and will give you all the dark details of what lay on the other side of those falls. The figures were tackling. This season will run the gamut. We'll look at everyone from financiers like Bernie Madoff to Queens like Marie Antoinette to Hollywood producers like today's subject Howard Hughes Darah Diverse Lot. But they all have one thing in common. They were beloved for their incredible accomplishments until they were reviled for their sins. You can listen to all. Park cast originals on spotify or anywhere else. You listen to podcasts. We're also on facebook and Instagram at Park in twitter at podcast network so without further Ado Howard Hughes it was January nineteenth nineteen thirty seven and thirty one year old Howard Hughes was soaring through the sky in his Hughes. H One racer a plane. He helped design under the auspices of his aerospace company Hughes Aircraft Today The H. One was going to smash the record for fastest transcontinental flight from Los Angeles to Newark New Jersey. A Record Howard himself had set just over a year earlier in another plane. Los Angeles pulled away beneath him home. These days Tinseltown couldn't get enough of him. They wanted him producing every project so they could get their hands on his enormous reserve of dollars and his creative I too but today he wasn't Howard Hughes renowned producer today he was Howard Hughes Record Breaking Aviator today he had a plane to push to its limits. It was a rough flight. Is Oxygen Mask failed? He almost passed out. But Howard kept going refusing to give in refusing to fail and after seven hours. Twenty eight minutes twenty five seconds of cutting through to January skies Howard landed in Newark New Jersey. Teed done it. He broke in the record by nearly two hours. And the first thing he did to celebrate was sent a telegram it read am down and safe at Newark Howard Katherine Hepburn. His glamorous actress girlfriend of the hour received the message with happy relief. Howard Hughes had it all respect wealth beautiful Hollywood girlfriends determination intelligence a golden finger. That seemed to turn everything. He touched into a success. But it wouldn't last the same obsessive protectionism that had pushed him to the top would take over his life and leave him a shell of the all American golden boy he once was of course when a little baby was born into the Hughes family in December nineteen o five all that doom and gloom was far in the future. Howard grew up wealthy in Houston Texas. Thanks to an ingenious invention of his father's a two-bit drill that revolutionized the oil business. Mr Hughes never sold the bits leasing them instead. And thus secured an empire that would sustain not just him and his wife but also provide the seeds for his sons extraordinary wealth. Howard's early life wasn't all silver spoons in sports cars though. His mother was an extremely anxious hovering parent and he was struck by bouts of illness. That pulled him out of school. Still Howard was close with his parents and he was devastated when they both died just two years apart his mother in her late thirties of a pregnancy complication in nineteen twenty two and his fifty four year old father of a heart attack in nineteen twenty four at eighteen. He was an orphan and there's evidence that he started to spiral into depression. But this was still the early Howard. He was young and handsome. Six foot four and slender and suddenly he was worth the equivalent of about fifteen million in today's dollars. Howard decided to use his money to leave. Houston and the past behind in nineteen twenty six at the age of twenty. He packed up for Hollywood where he planned to develop his childhood interest in technology by pursuing to equally glamorous fields flying in the movies the move that I went well nineteen twenties. Tinseltown was welcoming to passionate upstarts especially ones with money not to say it was perfect. The first film Howard Produced Nineteen Twenty. Six is swell. Hogan was a consummate disaster. Howard already an obsessive dedicated perfectionist was so horrified by the flop that he ensured. The film never made it to theaters but Hollywood was less exacting than Howard himself. It gave the young upstart another chance and this time Howard hit his stride. His next two films were financially successful in nineteen twenty seven to Arabian nights even when the First Academy Award for best director of a comedy picture but it was nineteen thirties. Hells Angels. That really catapulted. Young Howard Hughes to Hollywood production stardom wartime aviation epic combined. Howard's to loves flying in film. Perhaps that's why he was so particular about it. He started out as the film's producer but was such a nitpicking. Interfering perfectionist that multiple directors dropped off the project. Howard however wasn't deterred he took on the role of director himself with particular interest in the fight scenes and he dedicated himself to the new creative role with at least as much fervor as he put into producing. He poured two point eight million dollars into the project much of his own money and constantly pushed the film's deadline. His specific decisions included recasting. The female lead when he decided to turn it into a talkie rather than a silent film and constantly re shooting flight scenes. He even crashed a plane during shooting himself and though he clearly survived. Several of his stunt pilots weren't so lucky three men died during production. Thanks to the grueling schedule in daring aviation tricks Howard demanded these deaths were little talked about after all in nineteen thirty flying was a far more dangerous pursuit than it is today and a few deaths were perhaps to be expected on a project of hells angels scale another nineteen thirty production. Such men are dangerous. Beat out hells angels for the award of worst in film history by wide margin with ten men dead after a mid air collision still the perfectionism underlying the deaths was another mark of Howard's obsessive nece. Even in his triumphant early years is perfectionism however was effective throughout the thirties and world war two Howard remained a national golden boy. He was deeply respected in. La For his work in film. He was constantly dating Hollywood's most beautiful women which ensured his name was constantly in every tabloid paper around the country and to the delight of flight obsessed world in the nineteen thirties. He shifted his attention from producing hit films to breaking flight records. Body wasn't just a dashing young sportsmen with a good eye for making movies he was also quickly turning from the son of a millionaire into a powerful businessman in his own right in nineteen thirty two at age twenty six. He turned his passion for flying into a lucrative new business. The Hughes Aircraft Company in Nineteen Thirty Nine. He began acquiring stock in the airline. Twa expanding his empire and wealth even further and during the war. He picked up various government. Defense contracts eventually becoming one of the largest suppliers of weapons systems to the air force and Navy but despite his glittering image as talented movie man a daring pilot and the captain of industry. It wasn't all smooth sailing for Howard Hughes one of his World War. Two defense contracts was for a giant flying boat as it was called built mainly from would thanks to wartime metal shortages but his constant insistence on revisions and improvements slowed down production and ate up the project's budget. Leaving him with nothing to show for the contract before the end of the war in Nineteen forty-five Howard however was to respected businessman for this to look like a near accident. The Senate was suspicious that he'd misused government funds for the project shifting them to private business ventures of pouring them into the plane and they called him forward to testify in nineteen forty seven. Howard however handled the courtroom with panache he convincingly argued that he was a patriot and left the Senate with a promise if the flying boat fails to fly. I will leave the country and never come back. He did indeed meet that promise. Flying the enormous plane over Long Beach Harbor on November second. Nineteen forty seven for one astonishing crowd-pleasing mile but the flight brings us to the other hiccups of these apparently jubilant years of ever increasing success in power the crashes there were multiple incidents both in planes and cars and many of them left. Howard with head injuries. The worst one was in nineteen forty six he crashed right into Beverly Hills. His plane and body were shattered and he was apparently on the brink of death. Miraculously he survived however he still suffered from immense pain which is doctor prescribed him coding to cope with and since the pain from his injuries never quite went away. He continued to use coding for the rest of his life. When in later years however is prolonged. Use of the drug as well as other. Painkillers made its way into the press. Much was made of his possible addiction. In the twenty first century has medical understanding of persistent pain has developed. Some doctors have reassessed suggesting that Howard's usage was likely less addiction and more what we call now. Pseudo addiction reliance on a substance for the management of persistent physical pain but regardless whether it was the head injuries the drugs or just the process of aging Howard was starting to change and the people around him. Were starting to notice the cracks in his gilded surface. Gene Tierney one of the many Hollywood actresses who had dated Howard for a time described it this way. There had been a boyish clear eyed quality about him now the is had turned beatty. The face had tightened rather than adding character. The scars on the aged him combined with his obsessive ness and his need for control. The changes in Howard would lead to some astonishing behaviors behavior that it I looked like the unsavory machinations of any other powerful Hollywood man but eventually became uniquely appalling up next Howard Hughes tumbles from the skies down to a dark isolated Beverly Hills Bungalow now back to the story in nineteen forty seven forty one year old Howard Hughes was on top of the world. He was still handsome. Still dating Hollywood's leading ladies and still internationally beloved for his work in both film and aviation he was also one of the richest men in America for the next decade. Thanks to the dual protections of wealth and fame. He would maintain his gilded reputation but in reality things were starting to change. I there was his collection of women. He'd historically been interested in women around his own age but in the late nineteen forties and nineteen fifties after acquiring his own film. Studio are Ko. He started seeking out young. Starlets or Wannabe starlets. He'd sign them to exclusive contracts and then place them in bungalows where their diets were monitored and they were forbidden to date. Occasionally he'd sleep with them. Although many of them never met him at all in return he gave them singing and dancing lessons in promised to put them in the movies. This alarming treatment of girls and young women showed an increasing need for control but typically for the era and industry. This behavior didn't attract much attention at least not in the press contractually. Howard may of wiggled out of any unpleasantness by putting most of his Harem into the Nineteen fifty-five Arabian nights film son of Sinbad and on the surface. He seemed to be carrying on with the glamorous life of a Hollywood playboy in nineteen fifty seven. He even got married to the beautiful thirty year old actress. Jean Peters she was twenty one years his junior but in nineteen fifties Hollywood or even nineteen fifties America in general. This was not dreadfully unusual behavior. Still things got worse late in the spring of Nineteen fifty eight. He heard that his usual screening room at Goldwyn studios had been used by the all black cast of porgy and bess. He didn't like that he'd always been racist since his turn of the century Texas childhood and perceived black people as dirty. He wouldn't a screening room with them so Hughes announced to his aides that he wanted to screen some movies at a new location no sex projections studio on Sunset Boulevard. He entered the dark room alone. Shut the door and started the movies rolling. Then for the next three months he stayed there in screening room at first he wore a white shirt and Tan slacks often talking with his lawyers and bankers on the phone to check in about Business Affairs. Then slowly he stopped the calls. He stripped off his filthy clothes and he announced to his aides. Don't try to get me for anything. Wait until I call you. I don't want any messages handed to me. In this state of increasing isolation and Filth Howard did have some company surrounding him. Were Kleenex boxes. He used the tissues to wipe down the surfaces around him and the boxes he continually stacked and restocked these were habits he would retain throughout the rest of his life and are one reason for later speculation that he suffered from severe obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. Perhaps it's fitting that when he disappeared into the dark of the theater. He told his wife. Jean Peters that he was in the hospital getting treated for an undiagnosed disease for Howard. The obsession fueling. His tissue compulsion was a growing tear of germs. He'd been fearful of germs for a long time avoiding handshakes even in his early years in Hollywood but now his nervous distrust had grown into a full blown terror. Another compulsion that may have emerged during Howard's initial period of isolation in nineteen fifty. Eight was the fifty two year olds need to constantly watch movies their various explanations for it. Some commentators think he was studying the craft of filmmaking others have suggested he was trying to take his mind off of the physical pain. That never went away after his nineteen forty six crash despite the coding but while he may have felt either or both of these motivations Howard's constant and insistent need to have films playing certainly fits the bill a compulsion to when fifty two year old Howard finally emerged from the theater at the end of the summer of nineteen fifty eight. He hadn't washed trimmed his nails or cut his hair and he wasn't ready to now either. He continued many of the habits. He'd cultivated in the theater at the Beverly Hills. Hotel in a pink bungalow where despite his own filth he became even more obsessed with germs. The danger after all came from outside not from him it was about contamination about the uncontrollable outside getting in and hurting him so he established some rules I he designated the select group of people who are allowed to deal with him personally or even handle anything he planned to handle this rapidly shrunk to a small crew of Mormon aides who Howard reportedly liked because they worked hard live clean and didn't drink every move this carefully selected group was governed by an ever growing hyper specific procedures manual to see Howard. They had to go through a thirty minute. Purification ritual called processing hands had to be washed four distinct and separate times using lots of lather each time from individual bars of soap. Then supplicants had to dawn. White cotton gloves. Often they'd enter Howard's bungalow to find Howard sitting naked with nothing but a pink. Beverly Hills Hotel Napkin on his laugh. Once in his room they were forbidden from touching Howard directly. Instead they did things like pick up his memos about business matters or cap jars of his urine which he demanded be stored in his Bel Air Garage. He couldn't bear to let it go. It was his. It belonged to him. The more AIDS weren't the only ones subject to Howard's rules his wife. Jean didn't escape his ever heightening. Need for control either. She wasn't invited into bungalow number four. She was kept in her own bungalow. She was highly discouraged from leaving the hotel and when she did go out. She was instructed to go out with an escort the escort. Meanwhile was equipped with detailed memos about her care for example. When going to the theater they were instructed. If necessary to open the doors entering the theater or closing the doors do so with the feet. Not The hands if it is necessary or common procedure to enter the theater with her to lower the seat for her. Do so with Kleenex. While Howard's obsessive controlling behavior was evident from his earliest days in Hollywood. He clearly took a turn for the worse in Bid Nineteen fifty eight for the much worse. It's not excessive to characterize the shift as a mental breakdown but if that much is clear the reason for this mental breakdown is a more difficult question to answer it. We have to look back to the period preceding nineteen fifty eight and do a bit of speculation in his Book Citizen. Hughes Michael Draws in argues that the breakdown was likely triggered by Howard sense that he was losing control through the nineteen fifties while from the outside he may have appeared on top of the world. His wealth ever-growing his status as a Hollywood legend cemented. In fact he was losing some of the direct control. He'd always cherished I. The Pentagon forced him to give up personal management of aviation company Hughes aircraft in the wake of his nineteen forty seven spruce goose scandal then in nineteen fifty five. He had to sell off our. Ko The dying studio system and internal conflict. Made it an untenable business. Next in nineteen fifty seven. Howard's chief accountant Noah. Dietrich quit his job he'd managed Howard's business affairs for over thirty years serving as something of a surrogate father. His loss felt like abandonment and betrayal. Finally there was Twa Howard's airline. He needed more investment for the company but the bankers wouldn't give the money without increased control over the business as draws and it. It was all too much. Everything was slipping through Howard's fingertips and he couldn't contain everything the way he'd contain the fallout of Swell Hogan it had all gotten too big hence the breakdown. The rapidly accelerating paranoia 's and obsessive compulsive behaviors. What he could control he would control few people. Outside of Howard's immediate circle understood that sure Howard Hughes had disappeared from the public eye gone recluse that was a bit eccentric and of course. His enormous wealth cut two ways on the one hand. It helped maintain a glamorous mystique around his disappearance from public life on the other. It added a sinister air to his disappearance. Suddenly the man behind the empire was simply a question. Mark and in fact for all Howard's paranoia about losing control of his empire in strain secretive behavior. He would only get richer in nineteen sixty. Six powered was still spending the large majority of his time secluded at the Beverly Hotel. It's likely that he couldn't come out of that. Seclusion to appear in court and fight for full control over his airline. Twa So Howard Hughes. Sold for five hundred and forty-six million dollars. It was to date the largest check to ever go to a single individual which brings us to the darkest most dangerous way Howard Hughes was grasping at power in his fight for control and ultimately safety he was using his enormous wealth to by the US. Government COMING UP. Howard shakes the very foundations of American democracy. Now back to the story in nineteen fifty eight at the age of fifty two. Howard Hughes began suffering from an apparent mental breakdown and it didn't get better his lifelong tendency towards obsession and a need for control spiraled to new extremes as he hid away from the world in Beverly Hills Bungalow number four only seeing a small group of Mormon Aids but all the while his wealth was growing culminating in a nineteen sixty six by out of his airline TWA which left him with five hundred. Forty six million dollars in easy cash. Today that's equivalent to almost four and a half billion and that was far from his whole fortune powers wealth enabled his mental illness in many ways it allowed him to hire the people he needed to take care of or control. His wife had bought him. Twenty four seven attention from his Mormon aides who tended to his anxiety fueled need it ensured that he was left undisturbed at the Beverly Hills Hotel by either hotel staff or nosy outsiders and in nineteen sixty six. He used his new windfall to switch to a new more secluded hideout the desert in in Las Vegas which he eventually purchased outright ensuring total control over his environment but he knew his money could do more by him more power more safety so he started scooping up Vegas Real Estate Casino after Casino. He wanted to run the city while still living in near complete isolation but there was a small problem. Las Vegas is governed by antitrust laws. One man wasn't supposed to own a whole casino on his own much less seven. So Howard doubled down on the classic rich. Man's way out. Showering politicians was money. But Howard didn't care about political parties and he didn't care about keeping his gifts on the official campaign contribution list. He was happy to pay for whatever a politician needed paid. Whether those expenses were personal or political in Nevada he used these practices to get in with the state. Governor Pawlak Salt and then to circumvent antitrust laws but his ambitions didn't just stop with Nevada politicians to truly secure his little desert empire. He needed national influence. He saw an opportunity for that. In nineteen sixty eight. When Democratic presidential candidate Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated Hughes? Wrote the following memo to his chief. Bag Man in fixer Robert. Mayhew I see here an opportunity that may not happen again in a lifetime. I don't aspire to be president but I do want political strength. I want organization so that we would never have to worry about a Jerky. Little thing like this antitrust problem not in one hundred years kind of setup that if we wanted to could put governor lack salt in the White House in nineteen seventy two or seventy. Six later he clarified. What exactly he wanted mayhew to do with this opportunity. I want us to hire Bob. Kennedy's entire organization. I am not looking for political favors from them. I repeat. I don't want an alliance with the Kennedy Group. I want to put them on the payroll as Howard explained. It wasn't that he wanted one particular favor from a given politician. He wanted power and control. That would be there whenever he needed it. He wanted the government on his payroll and while he didn't succeed in hiring the entire Kennedy Organization. He did succeed in getting Larry. O'brien Bobby Kennedy's campaign manager into his book. Keeping a useful man to have in your pocket considering he'd go on to be the head of the DNC but not all of the politicians Howard Hughes sponsored loved his association with that organization. Which brings us to Richard Nixon Howard Hughes supported Nixon throughout his political career. As far back as Nineteen fifty-six when Nixon was Vice President Howard had loaned the Nixon family would amount to more than one point five million dollars today Nixon's brother. Donald used the money to bail out his failing fast food. Chain of course usually when one gives alone it's secured with something of equivalent value for example a mortgage which is secured on the value of your home and of course eventually repaid hughes loan to the Nixon's meanwhile was secured with an empty piece of land valued at thirteen thousand dollars a fraction of the loan value and was never repaid as in. It sounds a whole lot more like a gift then alone no strings attached or perhaps with few strings as soon as the money had changed hands. The IRS approved the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as a tax exempt charity after twice previously having declared it he device for siphoning off otherwise taxable income. This suspicious so-called loan made its way into the press in the final days before the nineteen sixty election when Nixon was first running for president and the scandal may have impacted his chances in the hotly contested race as he put it. I must have answered questions about the Hughes Loan. At least a hundred times the media the story and played it up big because it was so damaging to me still it did nothing to cool Nixon's appetite for Hugh's money during the nineteen sixty eight election season Nixon and Howard connected once again this time. The Hugh's money tying them together was a cool one hundred thousand dollars about seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars today and instead of going right to the Nixon family. It went to a bank account in the name of Charles. Beebe rebozo close associate. In confidante presumably the purpose of this unofficial campaign gift was a personal nature. Nixon could get it from Rebozo when he needed it for his private expenses. As for Howard. It seems to have proven useful too. Soon after the money changed hands. He weasel his way out of some legal issues with his Air West Takeover. He'd been indicted for conspiring to manipulate the airline stock defrauding shareholders of sixty million dollars and airline which it's worth noting was the beneficiary of multiple route franchises and mail subsidies this time the money carefully concealed in rebozo account. Didn't make its way to the press and Nixon finally sailed into the White House. He was sworn in as president on January twentieth nineteen. Sixty-nine meanwhile in Nineteen Seventy Howard gave up on Nevada. He didn't like the nuclear tests that the government were running in the desert to spite his petitions to have them stopped or the fact that despite his extraordinary wealth and power there were other wealthy powerful players bidding on Las Vegas. Perhaps it's no surprise that a man so obsessed with power and control would wanna find somewhere where he'd be the only big fish around. He was waffling between Mexico. And the Bahamas. He wasn't sure which would allow him greater political influence. Has He put it in a memo? Please consider the problems in obtaining empire status in the end. It was the Bahamas despite Howard's lifelong racism and as a result his distrust of a black government paradise island seemed like his only escape from the constant threat of nuclear contamination and rivals in Nevada on November twenty fifth nineteen seventy. He was carried out of the desert in via the fire escape by his Mormon AIDS wearing clothes for the first time since he arrived for years earlier Blue Pajamas. He was six foot four. And just over one hundred pounds emaciated after years of lying in bed and picking it food his hair. Meanwhile was almost twenty four inches long uncut for years. Sorry sight one that would have shocked the media and the mini politicians. He bribed for power and influence at both the DNC and in the Republican White House. This was the man behind the curtain. The man pulling the puppet strings but no one got a chance to see him. He was ushered into an unmarked van under cover of darkness then carried onto a private jet and finally to another Ninth Floor Hotel Penthouse this time in the Britannia Beach Hotel on Paradise Island like his room at the desert in this one had blacked out. Windows Howard hadn't come to paradise to see it. He'd come to escape the dangerous contaminations in Nevada and the escape practically speaking had gone well. that was just on the surface beneath the surface. Howard's mental and material conditions were declining in one thousand nine hundred seventy after years of communicating solely by phone. Jean Peters filed for divorce. The separation was finalized in Nineteen seventy-one when Howard was sixty five despite Howard's shaky condition. Since the early days of the marriage. Losing gene was likely difficult for Howard on the one hand because he was the kind of controlling possessive man who couldn't even bear to let go of his own urine and on the other because he probably actually loved peters in his own way. He never spoke. Ill liver even after the divorce. Nor did she speak ill of him? Despite the fact that there was no nondisclosure agreement attached to her divorce despite the fact that she was offered many lucrative opportunities to write or speak about her ex husband for years the couple had communicated by phone nightly but Peter's loss was likely fairly abstract for Howard. The loss of Robert Mayhew was more immediate mayhew had been Howard's chief intermediary with the outside world for years. Despite the fact that the two had never met he was Howard's bag man. His correspondent his main social contact. Perhaps in a way his friend but Howard's mistrust in paranoia didn't just focus on germs or on collecting politicians to protect his power with some help from his Mormon AIDS and other executives in his business empire. Howard started to turn against maze. You and has moved from Vegas to the Bahamas. Cemented THEIR SPLIT. He was cut off from some of the only social contacts he'd had left. And there's evidence that what remained the Mormon aides were deliberately invested in encouraging Howard's isolation and paranoia 's after all the less he saw of the outside world the more he relied on them finally to top off all issues Howard's business ventures weren't going as well as they once had he was plagued by losses in the vegas businesses and fines for his air west dealings despite the fact that the takeover had gone through. He was still extraordinarily wealthy. It's just his expenses were proportionately large and he didn't quite have the cash on hand to meet them back in Washington. Things weren't going so well either President Richard Nixon. Almost if not quite as paranoid demand has Howard was starting to get worried about the most recent one hundred thousand dollars. Howard Hughes had gifted him the hundred thousand dollars that grease the gears of Howard's Air West takeover the one hundred thousand dollars that never went into Nixon's campaign fund but rather sat waiting and BB ribose bank account for whatever personal expenses. Nixon needed paid but Nixon's paranoia about the money wasn't that it had been found out. In general he was worried. Specifically that Larry. O'brien had found out about it. Larry O'Brien the Kennedy's former campaign manager. And now chairman of the DNC was on Howard Hughes payroll just like Nixon was and Nixon had caught wind of that fact now. Nixon wasn't sure if O'Brien knew that their benefactor was mutual he had no real evidence. But if he had learned about O'Brien's connection to Howard. O'brien might very well have learned about Nixon's connection to and that of course would be very bad the DNC hated Nixon. He knew it. They wanted to take him down any way they could. They'd use Howard Hughes money against him in a heartbeat just like in the nineteen sixty election. He couldn't let that happen absolutely not but he had to be reasonable. Perhaps O'Brien didn't know about the money. Perhaps he was safe. He'd have to collect Intel and find out the truth then he could decide how to proceed against O'Brien so on June seventeenth nineteen seventy two the Nixon administration sent five to rob the DNC Washington headquarters. That's one version of what went through Nixon's head prior to Watergate anyway and the version that Watergate Senate investigators believed while it's impossible to say for sure that the Howard Hughes money was the primary motivator behind the crime. The theory does check out after all one man buying both. The Republican president in the DNC chairman was bound to lead to chaos Howard Hughes was so paranoid and power hungry that he catalyzed one of the worst crises in American political history in his book citizen Hughes which focuses on Howard's involvement with Watergate reporter Michael Draws in characterizes Howard as the portrait of Dorian Gray Dorian Gray here being the broad corruption plaguing American politics and the time of Richard Nixon Howard was far from the only player involved in the Watergate scandal but his declining physical and mental state reflected just how ugly things had gotten in Washington long before the cracks started to show at the White House and in his late sixties. He was declining even more quickly. His body was covered in bed sores. He was excruciatingly thin malnourished and his mind perhaps most of all was increasingly teetering into a chasm of delusions. He wasn't just watching movies now. He was watching them on repeat namely his favourite film. Ice Station Zebra a nineteen sixty eight spy thrillers set in the Arctic which he watched over one hundred fifty times and also his least favourite of the films he made as head of our. Ko Nineteen fifty six's flop the conqueror. He reportedly spent millions of dollars buying up every copy in existence just as he'd once tried to bury swell Hogan his first film but this time instead of hiding away the copies he said to have watched the movie every night before going to bed his personal projectionist of course wearing a blindfold so only Howard would see the screen. He was also reportedly completely unable to grasp the Watergate situation as it unfurled between nineteen seventy two and nineteen seventy four. The products of his Labor had escaped him on April fifth. Nineteen seventy six. At seventy years old he died. He was flying from his final residence. The Acapulco Princess Hotel in Mexico to the Methodist Hospital in Houston his hometown. The cause of death was kidney failure which had been exacerbated. Thanks to decades of drug use and likely Howard's pension to refuse the advice of his doctors as one of them put it. He made his own decisions about anything. How Berry Howard Hughes in the end Howard was a man of his times from start to finish a Hollywood wonder canned when the movies were the beating heart of an enthusiastic young nation. A pilot when flight was the fresh exciting frontier of human achievement. A man of integrity and power when in the postwar world America was beguiled by its own wealth and power a corrupt power hungry delusional man when the country realized it couldn't trust its leaders but like most people whose glorious beginnings lead to appalling ends. Howard's dark tendencies were there from the beginning. That's the case with the next man were covering in falls from grace to Roman Polanski like Howard. He was beloved. Hollywood filmmaker director of classics. Like Rosemary's baby until he became a fugitive from the law fleeing charges of drugging and raping eighteen year-old Girl Thanks again for tuning into falls from grace. We'll be back next week. With two more episodes you can find more episodes of falls from grace and all other park has two originals for free on spotify. Not only does spotify already. Have all your favorite music. But now spotify making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite par- cast originals. Like falls from grace for free from your phone. Desktop or smart speaker to stream falls from grace on spotify. Just open the APP and type falls from grace in the search bar and don't forget to follow us on facebook and Instagram. At par cast in twitter at podcast network. We'll be back next week with another story of remarkable success. And even more remarkable downfall fall from grace was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original it is executive produced by Max Cutler. Sound design by Trent Williamson with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden and Freddie Beckley. This episode of falls from Grace was written by Nora Patel with writing assistance spike. Cape Gallagher and stars Vanessa. Richardson and Carter Roy. We hope you enjoyed this. Episode of famous fates falls from grace. Remember you can catch to brand new episodes every Wednesday but only on spotify make sure and subscribe to famous fates for more scandalous stories. Free and only on spotify.

Coming up next