Under-rated, unappreciated, misunderstood, poor sick billionaire, Howard Hughes
“I am not a paranoid deranged millionaire. Goddammit, I’m a billionaire.” said once Howard Hughes, correcting with this statement his financial status but said nothing about what people said about the words describing his personality. Could be, most likely, because he was very well aware of how unusual he was. A magnet of the finances, real state, airlines, and cinematographic industry. Mr. Howard Hughes was, as many others millionaires are, an eccentric. Little that he knew that such a called “eccentric behavior” was in grand part, triggered by his illness.
Mr. Hughes was an undeniable genius. At his early age, he built the first wireless radio transmitter and at age of 12 the first motorized bicycle. He was an emancipated minor at age of 19, took over his deceased parents’ wealth and right after, he funded a biomedical research institution. Which happens to be the HHM Institute. His most important legacy. Later in his life, he was recognized as a business magnate, record setter pilot, engineer, and tycoon of the cinematography and even as the world greatest womanizer.
With his rich lifestyle came also his ‘eccentricities.’ Which might as well had been the beginning of his mental illness. Because he was also a very reclusive individual and auto medicate himself, it would be hard to establish if his illness came first triggering his eccentric behavior or if it was the other way around.
An extremely secluded individual that would spend months in solitude and darkness was also constantly in distress by his germs phobia, his unreasonable fear and intrusive repetitive thoughts cause by a severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Mr. Hughes would do things out of the ordinary like buying a hotel just because he did not want to check out at the checkout time. In the eyes of the world, this was just another impulsive eccentric moved from a millionaire. But in fact, Mr. Hughes locked himself in the hotel penthouse, with blacked out windows, in the dark dealing alone with his phobias and fears.
“ I intend to be the greatest golfer in the world, the finest film producer in Hollywood, the greatest pilot in the world, and the richest man in the world.” Howard Hughes
This entrepreneurial genius would spend days wearing nothing but Kleenex boxes on his feet, eating nothing other than chicken and milk and urinating in a bottle. Would this be just an eccentric behavior or a way to cope with his suffering? By that time, OCD was not the only illness that was tormenting Howard Hughes. Secluded in a room he will hide from the world, auto medicating himself with painkillers to fight the constant pain from his multiples injuries due to 4 air crashes.
With a fortune net worth of over $3 billion, The Aviator was the first US billionaire. This poor rich genius was probably often misunderstood and very lonely. For many, his inexplicable behavior could certainly be as a result of this financial power. Perhaps, it was a result of his genius; maybe just manifestations of his afflictions or a combination of all. Only one thing is clear; he wisely once said “Money cannot buy happiness” and he was living proof of that. For the tycoon Howard Hughes, illness was his weakness.
“Sometimes I truly fear that I… am losing my mind. And if I did it… it would be like flying blind.” Howard Hughes