Chairman and CEO of Summa Corporation Founder of The Howard Hughes Corporation Founder of the Hughes Aircraft Company Founder and benefactor of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Owner of Hughes Airwest Airlines film director, and philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world.
He first became prominent as a film producer, and then as an influential figure in the aviation industry.
Later in life, he became known for his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle—oddities that were caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), chronic pain from a near-fatal plane crash, and increasing deafness.
As a maverick film tycoon, Hughes gained fame in Hollywood beginning in the late 1920s, when he produced big-budget and often controversial films such as The Racket (1928), and Scarface (1932). Hughes formed the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932, hiring numerous engineers and designers.
He spent the rest of the 1930s and much of the 1940s setting multiple world air speed records and building the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 Hercules (the Spruce Goose).
He acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines and later acquired Air West, renaming it Hughes Airwest.
Hughes was included in Flying Magazine's list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation, ranked at Records locate the birthplace of Howard Hughes as either Humble or Houston, Texas.
The date remains uncertain due to conflicting dates from various sources.
He repeatedly claimed Christmas Eve as his birthday.
A 1941 affidavit birth certificate of Hughes, signed by his aunt Annette Gano Lummis and by Estelle Boughton Sharp, states that he was born on December 24, 1905, in Harris County, Texas.
However, his certificate of baptism, recorded on October 7, 1906 in the parish register of St.
John's Episcopal Church in Keokuk, Iowa, listed his date of birth as September 24, 1905, without any reference to the place of birth.