Thirty-five years ago today, Howard Hughes died, somewhat fittingly, on an airplane en route to a hospital for treatment. Eccentric reclusion in later life — as well as his reputation as a playboy — would somewhat darken his legacy as an entrepreneur, aviator, filmmaker and billionaire.
His biography is a fascinating one, and Life is telling it in pictures. Here are a few.
With an inherited fortune from his father, who patented a drill bit used in oil and gas drilling, Hughes financed some of the era's biggest Hollywood blockbusters, including Hell's Angels, Scarface, and The Outlaws, which put actress Jane Russell on the screen for the first time. Incidentally, Hughes was romantically involved with a great number of Hollywood stars.
In addition to Hollywood pursuits, Hughes became a pilot in 1928. He designed, built and flew record-breaking aircraft, founded the Hughes Aircraft Company and was inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame in 1973. One of his most memorable projects was known as "The Spruce Goose" — the largest flying boat ever, made out of wood, which made its only flight in 1947.
Needless to say, there's a lot more to his biography. More of it can be see at Life.