Elon Musk and the eccentric Howard Hughes, Hollywood-loving entrepreneurs who have much in common

The Musk and Hughes equations have popped up as far back as 2013.

((Credit: Associated Press))

Smart than most of the humanity’s wildest imagination. Eccentricity levels off the charts. Personal life with Hollywood starlets who swung in the professional life and made them tabloid fodder.

Is Elon Musk turning into a modern-day Howard Hughes?

The question is, given new life after Musk, 47, appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast Thursday night, smoked weed, drank whiskey and discussed electric aircraft capable of vertical take off and landing. The strange behavior comes at a time when his car company, Tesla, has trouble with power, and his increasingly erratic behavior has made the spotlight on him even brighter.


Last month, Musk sent a tweet in which he said: “I consider the take Tesla private $420. Funding.” 420 is a marijuana reference, though Musk told the New York Times in a long interview that at the time the tweet was sent, he was “not marijuana,” adding it is “not helpeful for productivity.”

He sent equities into a frenzy with a tweet, spurring the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an investigation into the accuracy of his statement. Musk then decided that Tesla remains a publicly traded company.

Tesla declined to comment about the Musk smoking pot on the podcast. But the company did point of Fox News to an 8-K filing on its Chief Accounting Officer resigned, despite only for one month.

Musk is yet to respond to a request for comment from Fox News.

“Elon is Wernher von Braun, Howard Hughes, Henry Ford and Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and every other badass all rolled into one.”

– Dolly Singh, former Head of Talent at SpaceX

Musk’s relationships with Johnny Depp’s ex Amber Heard, and the pop musician Grimes (who appears to be over, after the two unfollowed each other on Twitter, according to Complex) are reminiscent of Hughes’ relationship with Hollywood starlets as Ava Gardner, profiled Martin Scorcese’s “The Aviator.”

For Gardner and Hughes, it began as a passionate affair, but turned into a ball of fire. In her autobiography, Gardner wrote that Hughes was in and out of her life for 20 years, but described him as “painfully shy, completely enigmatic and more eccentric … than anyone [she] had ever met.”

Prior to the supposed end of their relationship, Grimes (real name Claire Boucher) took to Twitter to defend the way Musk runs Tesla, according to The Atlantic. (The tweets have now been deleted.)

Similar to Hughes and Gardner, albeit much shorter in length, Musk and Heard, had an on-again-off again relationship that finally ended earlier this year, according to People.

In November 2017, Musk told Rolling Stone that he “will never be happy without someone,” add “to Go to sleep alone kills me.”


The Musk and Hughes equations have popped up as far back as 2013.

According to Business Insider, Dolly Singh, former Head of Talent at SpaceX, Musk’s space exploration company, described him as Hughes-like.

“In my humble opinion, Mr. Jobs in all his greatness has nothing on Elon,” Singh wrote in a Quora post. “Elon is Wernher von Braun, Howard Hughes, Henry Ford and Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and every other badass all rolled into one.”

Musk has a bad relationship with Business Insider after he claimed that a columnist “published several false articles about Tesla.”

@lopezlinette published several fake articles about Tesla, including a doozy where she claimed Tesla demolished more batteries than our total S,X &3 production number, which is physically impossible.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2018

A Google search for “Elon Musk, Howard Hughes” draws about 6 million results, indicating that Musk’s approach in the direction of the business and his personal life is eerily reminiscent of Hughes; the billionaire business magnate eventually became a hermit after the display of ever-changing behavior throughout his life.


Interestingly enough, Musk tweeted early Friday that he is a “business magnet,” but it is unclear whether he misspelled magnate on purpose or tried to be whimsical.

I am a business magnet

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 7, 2018

Musk’s penchant for Twitter and his inability to not shoot themselves in the foot are also eerily reminisicent of Hughes’ devastating bursts of anger and the lack of a filter.

The most recent occurrence was earlier this week, when I, after apologizing for calling Vernon Unsworth, one of the British divers who have helped with the rescue of the Thai football team a “paedo!” cried he, Unsworth a “child rapist” in an e-mail to BuzzFeed News.

“I would suggest that you call people you know in Thailand, find out what is really going on and stop defending child molesters, f-ing a——-,” Musk wrote in one of the two e-mails to BuzzFeed.

Like Hughes, Musk started the companies that have changed the world, with the emphasis on clean energy and space travel, while Hughes focused on the film industry and aviation.

In addition to Tesla and SpaceX, Musk co-founder of PayPal, began ş founded zip2, an online city guide (similar to the current Google Maps and Yelp) and started Neuralink, a company that describes itself as “the development of ultra high-bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect people and computers.”

Hughes is also the founder of the Hughes Medical Institute, an American non-profit medical research organization based in Chevy Chase, Md. whose mission is to “advance the basis for biomedical research and scientific education for the benefit of humanity.” It was a gift of $22.6 billion at the end of 2017, according to its financial statements.

Or Musk’s story remains similar to that of Hughes is unclear at this point, but the equations have become too much to ignore.

For his part, and his health in the long term, it may be in his best interest to take a long vacation, even if he thinks they are cursed.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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