Category Archives: Notable People

TRIVIA QUESTION: How Did Howard Hughes Stop The Great Publishing Hoax of 1972?

ANSWER: After a 1946 plane crash in Beverly Hills, Howard Hughes went into seclusion. He recovered from his injuries but had a long term addiction to pain killers. For the next three decades he was well known for his refusal to meet with anyone.
The top executives of his major companies (Hughes Aircraft, RKO, TWA and the Hughes Medical Center) never met him. Hughes owned seven casinos in Las Vegas and had over 8000 employees in the state, but despite repeated demands, he refused to meet with the Nevada Gaming Commission. He finally left Nevada after five years to avoid them. Continue reading

The Government Shut Down: We Need Another Daniel Webster by Gregory Hilton

This note was written in 1996. Ted Kennedy's brother John F. Kennedy devoted a chapter to Webster in "Profiles in Courage." JFK also chaired the committee which selected Webster as one of the five greatest Senators of all time. The other Senators were Henry Clay (KY), John C. Calhoun (SC), Robert LaFollette (WI) and Robert Taft (OH). Their portraits are on display in the Senate Reception Room.

The major issue on Capitol Hill this week is Friday’s expiration of the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. If the debt is not cut or the ceiling raised, the government would have to be shut down on March 4th. The situation is similar to the 1995 confrontation between President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich when the government was shut down twice. Continue reading

The Great Speakers and the Failure of Nancy Pelosi by Gregory Hilton

The Republican Party did not realize it then, but they were about to give up power in the House of Representatives for 60 of the next 64 years. On March 4, 1931, Speaker Nicholas Longworth (R-OH) approached the rostrum for the last time. The first person on his feet was Jack Garner (D-TX) who would be his successor. Then every Democrat and Republican stood up and the applause was thunderous. Continue reading

Remembering Laurence (Larry) Fay by Gregory Hilton

Larry Fay and I are on the extreme right, and as usual, our liberal friend Rich Bartmon is on the left!

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

After a fall on December 13th, Larry Fay of Katonah, New York has died of a brain hemorrhage. His funeral was on Saturday. I met him in the 7th grade and we had many adventures together. We were on the Cross Country team for the next six years where he was the captain and wore number one on his running shirt.
Larry had two homes and was a successful and talented architect from a prominent family. His father who died two years ago was a Goldman Sachs partner during its glory years. Continue reading

Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner: Their $267,000 First Date by Gregory Hilton

1949: The Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles.

Movie actress Ava Gardner, one of the most beautiful women of the 1940’s and ’50s, was associated with many famous men. According to Time magazine, she was the most photographed woman in the world during the World War II era. She was 5′ 6″, a size zero, and had an 18 inch waist, 36-18-36. Gardner never won an Academy Award but the American Film Institute lists her as one of the top 25 greatest stars of all time.
Her best known films are Show Boat, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Barefoot Contessa, The Sun Also Rises, On The Beach, Seven Days in May, The Night of the Iguana and Mogambo, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Continue reading

When America Finally Turned Against Slavery – The Wilmot Proviso by Gregory Hilton

The February 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the Mexican War. The United States acquired tremendous new territory and at the end of the year war hero Zachary Taylor would be elected as America's last Whig President.

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo.

Passage of the Wilmot Proviso in the House of Representatives was truly a great moment in America history. It is one of the few Congressional debates which completely changed the political landscape. All of the old issues (the tariff, a national bank and internal improvements) were placed on the back burner. House voting patterns and party loyalties radically changed, and slavery now dominated the Congressional agenda. Continue reading

The Tragedy of Joe Sobran: A Tremendous Talent Lost to Antisemitism by Gregory Hilton

Many of my friends are now writing tributes to Joe Sobran who died yesterday at the age of 64 from complications of diabetes. He was a nationally syndicated columnist who for 21 years was both a senior editor at National Review and a CBS Spectrum radio commentator. His death brings back many youthful memories, and it is best to say I have mixed emotions. Continue reading

A Short Season for Michael Tucker (1958 -2010) by Gregory Hilton

My fondest memories of Michael involve our complete agreement on political issues, Sunday polo matches, the Potomac Club, Gold Cup races, Mardi Gras, and many election night parties. He was kindhearted and I was often a recipient of his generosity.

My friend John Michael Tucker passed away at 5:30 am on Saturday morning. He was 52 and died of hepatic encephalopathy, or swelling of the brain due to liver failure. We were only casual acquaintances but we had many things in common and I will miss him. He was always a joy and a pleasure to be around. Continue reading

Paris Hilton and America’s Celebrity Driven Culture by Gregory Hilton

Surrounded by the paparazzi, as usual, Paris Hilton arrives for lunch in Beverly Hills. She is driving one of her two Bentley Continental GT's with "PH" hood ornaments. The list price is $242,000, and she also has a $450,000 Lamborghini Murcielago. Her three bodyguards were in a separate vehicle. The socialite says "I always wanted a bubblegum pink car. I think when you’re a little girl and you have the Barbie corvette you’re like, ‘I wish I had a car like this one.’ I selected this car because I have been a fan of Barbie for so long.”

When historians look back on the summer of 2010 they will be able to note the number one Yahoo “trending now” search term was Paris Hilton. She is famous for being famous. In 2007, the Associated Press editors conducted a test to see if it was possible to not report about her activities for a week. At the end of the year they had failed to accomplish that goal. Continue reading

Chairman Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL) is Dead, Leaves Final Message

Former Congressman Dan Rostenkowski died of lung cancer today at the age of 82. Her served on Capitol Hill from 1958 to 1994 and was Chairman of the Democratic Caucus and the House Ways and Means Committee. He was a liberal Democrat but unlike many in his party, he was never a protectionist. One of his greatest triumphs was passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Continue reading