ECCENTRICS: Howard Lives

They were perhaps the first honest words that Clifford Irving had uttered publicly about the substance of the case. After months of embroidered tabulations—tales of secret tapings in Mexico, an "autobiography" poured forth at mysterious rendezvous in hotel rooms and parked cars—Irving stood in U.S. District Court in Manhattan's Foley Square last week and confessed in a subdued voice: "I conspired to convince the McGraw-Hill Book Company that I was in communication with Howard Hughes, and in fact I was not."

With that, Irving and his wife Edith pleaded guilty to federal charges...

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