1958: Howard Hughes Cracks Up

The building that housed Nosseck's screening room as it appears today; inset: Howard Hughes in the 1950s

The building that housed Nosseck’s screening room as it appears today; inset: Howard Hughes in the 1950s

Movie producer Howard Hughes, then America’s most famous millionaire, spent his final years in the throes of what many believe was an untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was also a virulent racist. One night in the spring of 1958, after learning that the all-black cast of “Porgy and Bess” had used his screening room at the Goldwyn studio (The Lot today), he moved to Nosseck’s screening room at 9102 Sunset Blvd.[map] on the Strip.

He stayed there for weeks, screening movies and consuming nothing but milk, Hershey bars, pecans and Poland water. Whatever the diagnosis might have been, the summer he spent at Nosseck’s was the first vivid presentment of bouts of derangement that marked his final years. As the summer wound down, Hughes regained a semblance of himself and returned to his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Left: “Porgy and Bess” poster. Right: Hughes in 1958.


  1. Was he in Greece in the spring or fall of 1959

  2. Victoria Robman

    April 20, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    OMG…That was my Uncle Martin Nossecks projection room!!! I was very young at that time…BUT my Mother told me stories about what happened in that projection room!!!!!

    • My family was very close to Martin’s son, Donald Nossecks family. We were their neighbors and my childhood included spending time with their daughters in the 60s. I used to hear the stories of Howard Hughes and the movie history at the editing and screening location on Sunset.
      We stayed in touch through the 70s and lost contact at the end of that decade.
      Wonderful family, and to this day, I think about the great times our two families shared.

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