Howard Hughes is a name that has long loomed large over the world of Hollywood. He was a billionaire who became involved in the film business simply because he had the money and he wanted to be in control. Over the course of his life until his death in 1976 he became progressively more insulated until he finally shut himself off from the world before his death, but in the early part of his career there were a number of rumors about Howard Hughes's sex life. The billionaire producer dated almost every blonde bombshell in Hollywood, and if the crazy stories about Howard Hughes are to be believed, he hooked up with a fair amount of the male stars as well.
The following Howard Hughes sex facts are rumors wrapped in a shadow. Hughes was larger than life while he was alive and stories about his proclivities only grew after his death. There aren’t many people who experienced the sexual deviancy of Howard Hughes in the flesh who are still alive, but despite the lack of firsthand accounts these stories still manage to persist.
Howard Hughes Did Not Discriminate When It Came To Sex
In his early years as a Hollywood producer, Howard Hughes didn't discriminate between whom he had sex with, allegedly. Hughes was said to be bisexual, and it's likely that his bank account made him feel like he could have sex with anyone he wanted. In the early '30s, he reportedly had sexual relationships with stars including Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, and Tyrone Power.
His introduction to sexual fluidity allegedly came from a sexual interaction with an uncle when he was 15, although that has never been proven to be anything more than a rumor. According to Hughes's biographer, Charles Higham:
"He was a thoughtless, dispassionate lover, seeking only control. His sexual partners were not so much lovers as hostages, prisoners, or victims of his will; he had to dominate in everything."
He Gave Gloria Vanderbilt Her First Orgasm
In the book The Rainbow Comes and Goes, written out of conversations between Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper, the heiress claimed that she was dating a 36-year-old Howard Hughes when she was 17 and that he made her change her mind about sex.
Even though he turned into a guy that cooped himself up with his own jars of pee, when they met she claimed that he was astounding. She recalled:
"I can’t reconcile the man I dated with the man he apparently became. When I knew him, he was thirty-six, wildly romantic, and gentle, yet he had the power to rule the world."
She wrote that Hughes wined and dined her over the course of a summer, and that he was the first guy who seemed to care about how she felt when they were having sex. She wrote: "Best of all, sex not only worked, but it was the first time since I started having sex that summer that I didn’t have to fake an orgasm."
Hughes Paid One Lover's Husband To Get A Divorce
When it came to getting what he wanted, there wasn't anything at which Howard Hughes wouldn't throw money. Early on in the relationship, he didn't really want anything to do with first wife, Ella Botts Rice, so he sent her away to Houston while he carried on with former Ziegfeld Girl Billie Dove. Unfortunately she was married while their rapturous affair was going on.
Hughes couldn't handle Dove having another man in her life so he paid her husband $325,000 to get a divorce. Even after spending all of that money on Dove, however, Hughes still couldn't stay faithful — so she ended up leaving him.
Hughes Pimped Out Starlets To Government Officials
In the early 20th century, the film industry was under a spotlight from the federal government. Even prior to the blacklist, Hollywood was looked at as people who were up to no good. In order to butter up government officials, Hughes would host "softening-up parties" that were meant to show the federal officials a good time.
At the parties, Hughes would allegedly pay young female stars $200 to attend and show everyone a good time. The women would have to swim naked in his pool and pretend to have a great time with the creeps who hung out at these events. One congressman who frequented the parties reportedly claimed, "If those girls were paid two hundred dollars, they were greatly underpaid."