Howard's Millions Still Out of Reach to Melvin

Former gas-station owner Melvin Dummar says he rescued Howard Hughes from the Nevada desert in 1967. But he has lost another legal round in a lengthy bid to claim millions that he says Hughes pledged to pay him in a will.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

Melvin Dummar lost another round this week. Mr. Dummar is the former gas station owner who says he rescued a bloodied man from a ditch along Highway 95 in the Nevada Desert in the middle of the night in 1967 and drove him to the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. He said that the man was Howard Hughes and that he wrote out a will leaving Mr. Dummar $156 million.

Mr. Dummar came forward with his story after Howard Hughes died in 1976. His story was widely ridiculed and irresistibly appealing. Jonathan Demme made a film, "Melvin and Howard," that one two Oscars in 1980. But a Utah court ruled that the will was a forgery. Mr. Dummar asked for a new trial last year because one of Mr. Hughes's former pilots, who said that he often flew him to brothels in that part of the Nevada Desert, where Melvin Dummar says he found Howard Hughes. This week, 29 years later, a new judge upheld the initial court decision that the will was fraud, which doesn't make for a bad movie.

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