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The Howard - HOUSE HISTORY

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Until his death in 1976, billionaire Howard Hughes owned this house. Upon his death, it was understood that he was to leave this house to his ex-wife, Jean Peters, (who frequently stayed here) but... no will was ever found and it was sold to a new owner. This house was the first of Hughes' estate assets to be sold and the sale of this house was even reported in the New York Times. The previous owners father worked for Howard Hughes and the owner grew up as a child in the Hughes empire.

Howard Hughes

The previous owner's mother was seen in a TV commercial by Hughes and initially brought to Los Angeles to be one of Howard Hughes' starlets, where she was giving acting lessons every day (studying with Jane Russell)---but she didn't like it and married a studio chieftain instead.

 

Prior to Hughes' ownership, the house was owned by Paul Keyes, the producer/writer of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." Keyes entertained friends and cast members of the show here. And prior to that, actress Eva Gabor owned it.

previous owner, Eva Gabor

The house was originally built in the 50's, and it consisted of the living room, kitchen and the "Eva Gabor bedroom." In the early 60's the house was added on to, and this consisted of the new entry hall, plus the downstairs bedroom and the "Smokey Robinson bedroom." You can see the difference in the wings by the kind of bricks used in construction. The original entrance to the house was the entryway from the entry foyer to the living room.

Howard Hughes and Nancy Carroll circa 1937.

The current owner is just second in line from Howard Hughes himself since he built it in 1957. When he bought it in 2018, it garnered the attention of some major national and local news outlets and magazines, as it was the first time in 41 years that it had gone on the market. From 2019-2023 he undertook a massive renovation and restoration project and brought the property into the 21st century with luxurious updates and additions. The exterior now boasts a modern resort like experience.

Being a history enthusiast, it was very important to the owner to keep as much of the original essence of this beautiful and unique midcentury home. The pool and patio were redone to follow the same shapes, curvatures and lines that the original exterior had had, while completely updating and modernizing all of the hardscape with luxury outdoor kitchen, firepit and furnishings. The owner also went to great lengths to restore and refresh all of the home’s interior original qualities. You will notice many of these vintage features throughout the house, in particular the bathrooms, kitchen, patio sliding doors and beautiful brick walls. And one of the most special features being the custom made propeller shaped brass light switches that Howard Hughes had made to be put on the floor so that he would not have to touch light switches due to his germophobia. Though they are for decoration only (still in their original places), these also have been also been painstakingly and passionately restored by the owner, giving a very tangible feel of Howard Hughes’ presence in this house.

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Howard Hughes flying the plane, which crashed, 1946. 

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more about howard hughes

Howard Hughes was born in 1905, and was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, filmmaker and philanthropist ---and one of the wealthiest people in the world. As a maverick film producer, Hughes gained prominence from the late 1920's, making big budget and often-controversial films like Hell's Angeles, Scarface, and The Outlaw (which starred Jane Russell).

 

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Jane Russell on set of The Outlaw 1943. Photo by Ira Hoke

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He was also one of the most influential aviators in history, and set multiple speed records. He later owned TWA airlines (which later merged with American Airlines). He was remembered in later life for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle. 

 

Hughes' father was an industrialist, who invented a diamond-drilling bit that made them a fortune. This homeowner has---sitting in storage the original desk that his father used when he owned the tool company and which later became Hughes' desk in Hollywood. 

Howard Hughes and Roscoe Turner, a stunt flyer.

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Hughes dated a lot of famous women, including Billie Dove, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Ginger Rogers, and had a major love affair with Katherine Hepburn. Hughes married actress Jean Peters in 1940, and they had a respectful relationship right up until his death (even after she was remarried)---and as noted earlier, she frequently used to stay in this house. Even after she divorced Hughes, he never spoke badly of her and she refused to discuss her life with him, and declined many lucrative offers to talk about Hughes. 

Ginger Rogers and Howard Hughes, engaged, in 1937. 

The previous owner’s father went to work for Hughes in the last fifteen years before Hughes died. This was during the period when he owned hotels in Las Vegas. Wayne Newton was one of the key entertainers in his showroom.

 

Even in later years, Hughes' companies continued to flourish and Hughes Aircraft and the Hughes Medical Institute provided many breakthroughs in Aviation, Satellite, and the field of Medicine. 

 

Hughes was a movie buff, and in his room at the penthouse of the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, he constantly wanted to screen movies, which the previous owner’s father would order up in Los Angeles courtesy of the studios and ship to Hughes to watch in his hotel rooms where he had a projector installed. He later bought the local CBS or 308 Station in Las Vegas so that he could watch movies late at night as TV stations could get movies to play for the late night hours. Hughes actually made a lot of money when he sold the TV station---and all because it was the best way for him to get to watch movies.

 

After Hughes death, his cousin William Lummis instantly put together a coalition of the 22 surviving relatives (some of whom didn't even know they were related to Hughes---a rather great surprise they had when they discovered this) and split up the multi-billion-dollar estate. 

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