I Met Howard Hughes (The Aviator).
Here is my story - my experiences with Howard Hughes from 1951 thru 1964. During that time, I was a model, showgirl, actress, pinup legend,
and TV personality called Voluptua, Goddess of Love, later a glamorous real estate broker.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
N. HOLLYWOOD, California / PR FREE / Feb 12 2005 --
(2692) Howard Hughes, 1953|
One night while I was working at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, during our Merry Widow
number, I spotted Howard Hughes sitting ringside. It seemed like he was staring only at me so
much so that I had to stare back at him. The vibes were enormous. He had a shy look on his face
and never took his eyes off me. Maybe he was having me mentally. I smiled my dimpled best and
winked at him as I left the stage. I don't know why but I felt campy.
I noticed he was with Debra Paget and an older rather portly woman.
I often went back to the motel between shows. Rather than carry my clothes, I just wore
a bra, g-pants and fishnet stockings. Then I wore my beautiful white wrap around cashmere coat
over it. It seemed easier than arriving fully dressed and getting undressed and dressed again.
This night as I was getting out of my costume, there was a knock on our dressing room
door. A man handed me a note addressed to Gloria. The note read, "Would you do me the
honor of joining me after the last show at the Desert Inn cocktail lounge? Hopefully, - HH
I wish I would have saved that message with his autograph, it would have been worth a
"Who are you?" I asked the messenger?
"I'm Jimmy Vernon."
"Who's HH?" I asked Jimmy?"
"That's my boss! Howard Hughes!"
I was very amused. I wouldn't have missed that meeting for the world. What an
opportunity. I had a bone to pick with Mr. H and here was the chance to pick it now.
"Well it could have been Herbie Horowitz, or any other name with those initials."
"OK, tell him I'll meet him but I have to get dressed back at the motel after the show. I
didn't bring any clothes with me tonight. I'm supposed to go to Chuckwagon and stay until 2 AM
but maybe I could sneak out and take a chance of not being caught.
If I were caught, I might have been fired..but I couldn't pass up this golden opportunity no matter
After the show, Jimmy waited backstage for me under orders, so I wouldn't duck out. He
followed me back to the Desert Spa Motel and it didn't take long to put on my plunging neck
halter dress. My hair was long, silver blonde and I wore it in a page boy offstage. On stage I
wore it in a bun because of the large headdresses and huge hats.
I went with Jimmy in his car to the Desert Inn. We sat in the cocktail lounge waiting for
HH to show. Finally a long lanky smiling figure of a man came strolling along. He was wearing a
dark brown suit and a dark tie and white tennis shoes. Jimmy got up, said
"This is Mr. Hughes." and then bowed out.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Pall"
Well, it really was him. My imagination went wild. He was the same man I spotted in the
This was like an audition. I said, "Hello, Mr. Hughes. It's a pleasure to meet you. I have a
few interesting stories to tell you that may amuse you."
He sat back like he wanted to play my little game. With a coy smile he said, "Start telling."
"OK! When I first got to Hollywood in 1951, Walter Kane, your right hand man sent for
me at your RKO studios. Well, I was in a hurry to get there and it was pouring. I just became a
licensed driver and there was one small parking space a block away from the gate on Gower. I
didn't cut my wheels hard enough and dented my fender to the tune of $75. When I got to Walter
Kane's office I was a little shook up from the accident. He thought I was nervous about seeing
him. Not so. Anyway, he gave me a card with the address of Christy and Sheppard.
He said, "Go there." So off I went with my dented fender to your favorite photographer.
When I got there they told me, " take it all off."
When I refused they said, "Mr Hughes likes unretouched photos without any makeup at
When I realized they wanted me to take off all my makeup, then that was a horse of
another color. Then after I went through all that, I never heard back from Christy-Sheppard,
Walter or you. So, tell me how come you never called? Didn't you like the way I looked without
Howard lost his composure and burst into laughter with my question. I reached him right
through the sound barrier. He thought I was very funny with my story telling and my dented
fender in the rain. I proceeded to tell him that I worked in two pictures for him. One was French
Line with Gilbert Roland and Jane Russell. Gilbert was dynamic, romantic and so appealing. He
invited me to go with him to the Beverly Hills Tennis Club after work. But I was going with a
jerk at the time so I refused. I owe myself a kick for that decision. Jane Russell was dieting
strenuously and she asked me if I had any food. So I gave her my only bag of carrot sticks.
Meanwhile I was about to pass out from starvation, because I was also dieting.
Jane said, "You saved my life." I thought to say, "I almost lost mine." but I didn't.
The other movie was, Son of Sinbad with Dale Robertson, Mari Blanchard and Lili St.
Cyr. I was one of 100 descendants of the 40 thieves, dressed in harem costumes. I spotted myself
on film, but you have to look quick. Don't blink!
May I ask you a personal question, Mr. Hughes?
"I'm all ears." he answered with a big grin not knowing what to expect.
"Number one, you can call me Gloria, can I call you Howard?."
He nodded yes.
That's not really the question. The question is:
"So how come you haven't made me a star yet? You are such a famous star maker and I
don't have anything better to do right now. You must have thought I was great looking or else
you wouldn't have sent the note to me only. It's not too late for me to get out of the chorus."
"I beg your pardon," he said holding his ear.
"Didn't you hear me? I hate to go through this whole routine again."
He answered very seriously, "I would consider that but I 'm trying to sell the studio now.
Otherwise I'd love to put you under contract and train you, groom you for stardom. Acting,
dancing, singing lessons everyday plus salary.
"That's my dream come true, Howard. I like wearing plunging necklines, telling jokes. I
write backwards and forwards with both hands and upside down, too. I dance off beat, and sing
off key, but aside from that I'm a good kid. You can always count on me for a favor."
I continued, "I made a bra with my own engineering ability that's as good as if not better
than Jane's in The Outlaw. I touched a nerve with him.
I wore it under a halter dress which I slashed revealing all but my nipples. for a party
honoring Marilyn Monroe that Ray Anthony gave and she left in a huff. Mickey Rooney came
over to me and the UP, IP and the AP took lots of pictures of us together. The Stars and Stripes
magazine picked it up and dubbed me Miss Cleavage of 1952. I became nationally and
internationally famous. That wasn't bad for a start, was it? Leo Guild, my publicist friend from
Warner Brothers invited me to the party. He's the one that told me,
"You have to have a gimmick. It's a pool party so wear something cool...ha ha...and so I
I really got to Howard, he was a good audience. He was very impressed that I didn't
smoke, drink or swear. When the conversation was winding up, I asked Howard if he liked to
talk aircraft nomenclature. This time he didn't pretend not to hear me. His ears perked up and he
"What do you know about that?"
"Everything. Just ask me any part of an engine or firing order, or to explain the hydraulic
system or radial air cooled engines. Ask me about Taylorcrafts and Piper cubs, or bombers and
fighter planes. I know all them . I'm a certified aircraft mechanic."
A bell went off. This really impressed him.
He scratched his head...I could read his mind...."this bimbo has a brain!"....
He laughed as he said good-night at the table. The Desert Spa Motel was next door to the
"So Howard, since I'm the girl next door, let me hear from you sometime...
In case you need some engine advice!"....
Suddenly Jimmy appeared out of nowhere and took me home. I got into my car and went
back to the Sahara hoping I wasn't missed for the hour I was gone.
The following night I sneaked out to Chuckwagon at the Flamingo and ran into Howard
and Debra and her mother. Howard introduced me to Mrs. Gibson, Debra's mother. She was the
short rotund lady that was at the show the night before, then to Debra, who was gorgeous.
"I asked them how they enjoyed the Sahara show and they said they did. A few nights
later I saw Howard in the parking lot getting into an old Ford. I waved hello to him and he
yelled, "I'll call you tomorrow."
I put on about 15 pounds and had to starve it off. Eating late at night did it to me. In one
month I lost twenty pounds. Every night I had shrimp and cucumbers and hardly anything all day.
George Moro, my boss and choreographer checked my plate like an inspector. No bread or
fabulous desserts for me. I was skin and bones before I decided to quit the Sahara and get out of
the chorus. I looked great being thin but had no energy.
Howard called and met at the Silver Slipper dining room. I just had an offer from Eddie
Fox to replace Hank Henry's wife, JoAnn who had just become pregnant. I told him I needed a
second opinion. I wanted to go back to LA and tried to get back into movies and Television.
Howard said, "Stay here and work. You'll be a headliner and that's what you said you wanted.
Forget Hollywood for now."
I took his advice and stayed. It was a great experience. The jokes were risque, old
burlesque types and I was a straight woman or talking woman. Doing comedy and skits were a
natural for me. Especially working with Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Danny Thomas. I could go on
and on with the stars I worked with as a straight woman.
Everyone came to see me, but the shows were at 9PM, 11PM, 1AM and the last show
was at 3 AM. That was a killer, not eating and doing four shows a night was too much. All the
showpeople performing on the strip came to the 3AM show.
I worked with a sensual stripper named Kalantan. She later married John Bromfield. I
didn't recognize her at the Iverson Ranch western star roundup, but she knew me. She changed
100%. She got lucky and married a great guy. That was never in the cards for me.
Howard stood in the back nightly at the 3AM show and when the lights went on, he
darted out like a flash. I guess he was tired of people hitting him up for money.
My dear showgirl friends Madge and Muriel came up one weekend with John Abbott. He
practically forced them to come to Vegas to be my bridesmaids. I had no intention of getting
married to John. I stayed in Vegas to get away from him. I had savings, a good job with a future,
Howard Hughes on my heels. I certainly didn't want or need John or the little he had to offer.
They all nagged me constantly around the clock. He begged me, threatened suicide in
front of me and the show, he cried hysterically for two days. He played every card he could to
break me down. I wasn't buying what he was selling. He was a promoter, a liar and a con man.
He wouldn't take no for an answer. He went against every grain in my body, but wouldn't leave
The only way he would leave me alone and go back to LA was if I married him.....I knew
better. I cried through the ceremony knowing I was being forced into something I didn't want to
do, then he stopped crying.
When I told Howard what I did, he was furious...and that broke our bond of friendship.
Lavender Real Estate Office, 1963
Ten years passed, and by this time in 1963, I became a successful real estate broker. I
opened a lavender office on the Sunset Strip in my own little house style building. I catered to a
celebrity clientele and my whole life was where I wanted it to be.
I had an annulment from John after he drained all my savings and I had to start all over
again financially. I was back on my way to the top. I built a lavender house in Nichols Canyon. It
was like being in an island in the sky with nothing down below except caissons. My nearest
neighbor was Ricky Nelson...he used to stop by and visit before he got married. He was a nice
young man and seemed to need someone to talk to that wasn't in awe of him..
From 1956 to 1963 I had a steady job doing fur commercials on the Oscar Levant, Joe
Pyne, and Tom Duggan shows. There were approximately 2500 live commercials. I was able to
save $10,000 and invested it in my own little business...Real Estate.
I was at the peak of happiness.and had it all and no one to drain me emotionally or
financially. I was independent and felt complete. I never knew such a comfortable place to be. I
owned 2 homes, three buildable view lots, a star's wardrobe, a 57 T-bird..lavender of course and I
just bought a new Mercedes 220s for cash and painted it lavender. Admirers and hopeful beaus
stopped by to see me constrantly...I really didn't have time for visits..I had a business to run and a
When Michael Wilding stopped by, I managed to join him occasionally in a spot of tea at
Ben Franks coffee shop a block away. I found him to be very charming with an underlying
loneliness...sort of " what do I do with my life now.?" He was divorced from Liz.
"Hey, Michael, why don't we get you A real estate license and put you to work? With
your contacts we could take over the town."
He certainly would have added to the glamour of my office all decorated in hues of purple
One day I got a call from Walter Kane.
"Mr. Hughes has chosen you to find him locations for his starlets. Preferably secluded
hillside hideaways, with views, pools and beautifully furnished. Do you have anything I could see
today? We also need some executive homes."
"Mr. Kane, if I don't have it I'll find it or create it to please Mr. Hughes."
That was the beginning of a flourishing business for me.....Howard enabled, enriched and
prospered me beyond my greatest expectation. I eventually left TV and the fur commercials to
devote 18 hours a day servicing my choice clients with showplaces.
One day Howard called, kiddingly and said, “Do you still want me to put you under
contract and make you a star?" I laughed..."At this point Howard, I would rather sell a studio
than work in one!"