56 Years Ago In Time

Martin Scorsese's eagerly awaited film The Aviator depicts the early years of tycoon HOWARD HUGHES. Even before his reclusive old age, TIME was fascinated with the eccentric billionaire.

What manner of man is this Howard Hughes--this tall, gangling, aging and sick-looking man of 42 whose life and eccentricities have built a lurid legend? ... The private life of Howard Hughes might be described as a complete and carefully protected disorder. He has no interest in clothes, only the barest minimum of interest in food and sleep. He owns five suits, of which the newest is five years old; he is rumpled...

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