Hollywood’s Golden Age is filled with stories of predatory men who let power get to their heads when dealing with their female peers. However, there are few figures that are quite as notorious as billionaire producer Howard Hughes. Howard used his wealth and influence to hook up with many notable starlets early on in his Hollywood career, with some of them including Ginger Rogers, Ava Gardner, and Bette Davis. However, it’s the less notable stars who met Howard later in his career that got it the worst. Join Facts Verse as women who slept with Howard Hughes reveal his darker side.
Howard Hughes Inherited an Insane Amount of Money
Howard Hughes was born into great wealth. At the age of 18, he inherited a fortune of over $20 million from his father. Given that this was the early 1900s, that already exuberant sum meant a good deal more than it would today. With this fortune, Howard was afforded the opportunity to live his life however he chose. While others may have chosen to live a life of leisure, Howard dedicated his adult years to a great many pursuits, from aviation to film production. Though Howard was a renaissance man of sorts, it seems that his greatest passions resided in Hollywood. The man was certainly an admirer of film, but it was something else that made him appreciate the entertainment industry as much as he did. All in all, it seems the thing that Howard loved most about working in the world of cinema was the women.
The story of Howard Hughes’ Hollywood career is filled with tales of women that the producer used up and tossed aside, and this only got worse as he got older. Early on in his career, Howard would target notable starlets and try to get them under his command. Once this didn’t prove as fruitful as the wealthy socialite desired, he began setting his sights on younger women that didn’t yet have their footing in the industry. With this move, the man became a full-blown predator. Today, the kinds of things that Howard Hughes did to female stars wouldn’t be tolerated. This is especially true in the wake of the #metoo movement, which saw previously esteemed producer Harvey Weinstein incarcerated for crimes that Howard likely would’ve called child’s play.
When Howard Hughes first stepped foot in Hollywood, he set his sights on such starlets as Ava Gardner, Bette Davis, and Ginger Rogers. Following their time with the billionaire playboy, all of these starlets would go on to share some pretty damning stories about him. However, they all seem to be in agreement of the fact that the man was an excellent lover! According to the late Ava Gardner herself, Howard was the man who taught her that people didn’t need to rush when they were making love. However, Howard’s talents as a lover arguably didn’t make up for his more abusive side.
Ava Gardner Beat Howard Hughes with a Chair
Although Howard Hughes wasn’t as controlling with the likes of Ava Gardner as he would become with lesser known starlets later in his life, he still attempted to exercise a good deal of control over her. Given that Ava was an established presence in Hollywood, she was able to escape the man’s clutches. Things came to a head between Howard and Ava when the actress was caught lying about having met up with ex-husband Mickey Rooney. When Howard found out about the lie, he launch into an all-out assault. Howard punched Ava, which sent her flying backwards onto a chair. The man then pounced on the actress and began bludgeoning her. Thankfully, the forceful Ava was able to defend herself by grabbing a nearby bronze ornament and striking her lover in the head with it. One strike was apparently all it took to turn the tables. Howard’s head was split open and his teeth were knocked loose. With the producer in shock, Ava was said to have picked up a chair and beat the man with it until a maid came in and reasoned with her to stop.
Bette Davis’ tale of Howard Hughes isn’t nearly as harrowing as Ava Gardener’s, but it still goes to show how manipulative the man could be, even during his early Hollywood career. According to Bette, Howard had told her during the period of time in which they were lovers that she was the only woman that he had ever achieved an orgasm with. At the time, Bette allegedly believed what she was hearing. However, when she became older, the late actress realized how unlikely it was that what Howard had said was the truth. Of all the notable starlets that Howard tried to exert control over during his early Hollywood career, it’s arguable that no one got it quite as bad as Ginger Rogers. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Howard Tried to Guilt Ginger Rogers Into Marriage
Howard Hughes and Ginger Rogers had a romantic relationship that lasted for several years, though nothing good came of it. In 1940, Howard proposed to the actress and said that he was going to build a mansion for the two of them to live in together and start a family. Ginger appreciated the sentiment and seriously considered the offer. However, what started out as a seemingly virtuous romance soon turned dark when the producer’s controlling nature began to show itself once more. At first, it was little things, like Howard demanding that Ginger be available for him whenever he desired. Then, things got more serious when the actress began to suspect that the producer was spying on her. As had happened previously with Ava Gardner, Howard’s relationship to Ginger came to an end with a bang. However, this time, Howard’s abusive tactics were a good deal subtler. The story goes that Howard faked a car crash when he began fearing that he was losing his grasp on Ginger. The plan was to get Ginger’s pity, and convince her to go through with the marriage.
Thankfully, Howard Hughes’ plan to emotionally manipulate Ginger Rogers into staying with him backfired. Ginger called the producer’s bluff, and their tumultuous relationship was finally over. Ginger would speak on the matter in the following years before her death, claiming that what Howard was really trying to do by making her his wife was imprison her. Given how Howard would treat many of his later lovers, it seems that Ginger was most likely right!
Howard Got More Predatory During His Later Life
After realizing that it was too difficult to control established stars, Howard decided that he needed to make a star of his own. He then set about stalking the most attractive teenagers he could find in hopes of tricking them into signing on a contract with him. One of his first notable victims was Faith Domergue, who was only 16 when the two met.
When pursuing Faith, Howard made no distinction between wanting to make her a star and wanting to make her his wife. However, it would later prove to be the latter goal that was truly on the producer’s mind. Howard pursued Faith romantically for months after first pursuing her, all the while promising that he could make her a star. The young woman eventually accepted, with the two of them entering into an engagement and the producer saying that he was going to make her famous. Disturbingly, Howard was said to have asked Faith to refer to him as her “Father Lover”, with the producer being nearly two decades her senior.
Howard hooked Faith with the promise of both marrying her and making her a star. Sadly, it seems that Faith’s faith was misplaced. Howard didn’t make good on either promise. Instead, Howard ended up doing to Faith what Ginger Rogers had always feared the producer was trying to do to her- imprison her. Faith had been signed with Warner Bros. Pictures before meeting Howard, but the studio hadn’t done much with her. Howard purchased the contract claiming that he was going to make the actress a star, though he ended up doing even less with her! The producer only purchased the contract so that he could keep her under his control.
Howard Hughes Essentially Imprisoned Faith Domergue
After becoming engaged to Faith and purchasing her contract, Howard nearly had full control over the would-be starlet. His final step was to move Faith and her parents into a home right down the street from his own, as well as to give the male members of her family jobs at his company. Howard had finally built a prison, and he kept Faith inside of it for several years before the actress finally broke free. Howard then repeated this same scenario again and again with other would-be starlets before finally passing away.
During the time that Faith was under his control, Howard Hughes kept tabs of the actress and knew every single thing that she did. When Howard couldn’t be around to keep tabs on her himself, he had the hired help do it. All the while, Howard could be found traipsing around Hollywood and dabbling in affairs with such figures as Lana Turner.
One of the stranger stories of the way Howard Hughes treated his women is how the producer would demand his drivers slowed to halt when going over speed bumps so that the breasts of his female companions would not be jiggled. Some might think that Howard was doing this because he wanted his companions to be comfortable, but the reasons were actually selfish. It seems that the producer believed that jiggling of the breasts led to sagging, which was something that he had no room for in his romances.
Though Howard Hughes exerted control over many beautiful women during his lifetime, he spent his final years as a mentally ill codeine addict. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Ava Gardner once knocked a couple of Howard Hughes’ teeth loose, and that the producer became increasingly predatory during his later years? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!