TYCOONS: The Secret Life of Howard Hughes

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Margulis' main job was to prepare Hughes' food. But he also acted as his bodyguard and during the last three years, when Hughes was no longer able to walk, lifted him whenever he needed to be moved. It was Margulis who placed the emaciated Howard Hughes aboard the jet ambulance for his last flight—a scene re-created on TIME'S cover by Artist Jim Sharpe.

Neither Stewart nor Margulis was a member of the ultrasecret inner circle of so-called executive assistants. These six men, five of them Mormons, kept a 24-hour-a-day watch over Hughes and screened all his communications. According to Stewart and Margulis, the executive aides acted in effect as his keepers, at salaries ranging as high as $110,000 a year. By contrast, Stewart and Margulis performed menial jobs at relatively low salaries—about $25,000 a year. (They will collect one-third each of the profits from the Phelan book.) They were on the perimeter of the inner circle, but, especially in Stewart's case, they had constant access to the boss; they saw and heard a great deal.

Hughes emerges from The Hidden Years as a tortured, troubled man who wallowed in self-neglect, lapsed into periods of near-lunacy, lived without comfort or joy in prison-like conditions and ultimately died for lack of a medical device that his own foundation had helped to develop. Among the main points:

> Hughes was hooked on drugs. After he moved into the penthouse atop Las Vegas' Desert Inn in 1966, he was consuming vast amounts of Empirin and later Valium. While beneficial for headaches and nervousness when taken in small amounts, overdosage causes doziness and mental lapses. Later Hughes began openly injecting himself—often in the groin—with hypodermics rilled with a clear fluid. Stewart and Margulis do not know what the syringes contained, but they observed the effects: Hughes would become drowsy and incoherent. His drugs, "my medication," were kept in a metal box that was always taken with him. Whenever he was flying from one hideaway to another, Hughes would clasp a Kleenex box containing his syringe and would take several shots in a five-or six-hour period.

> Hughes' physical appearance was horrifying. His straggly beard hung to his waist; his hair reached mid-back. His fingernails were two inches long, and his toenails grew and grew until they resembled yellow corkscrews. When he was still able, he walked with a pronounced stoop. Often he went naked. Sometimes he wore a pair of drawstring white underpants (he had an aversion to buttons, metal snaps and zippers). On the three occasions during the hidden years when he met outsiders, he underwent an elaborate barbering, cleanup and clipping of his finger-and toenails.

>Although four doctors rotated in taking care of Hughes, his medical condition was appalling. His former 6-ft. 4-in. frame had shrunk three inches, and his weight fluctuated between a high of 130 Ibs. and a cadaverous 90 Ibs. He suffered variously from anemia, arthritis and assorted other ills. Nothing plagued him more than constipation; at one time, he sat on the toilet for 72 straight hours, occasionally propping himself on a chair set next to him so he could support himself while dozing.

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