Wikileaks has released e-mails it has recently obtained between the New York Times and a very unlikely source: Howard Hughes. Wikileaks hasn’t reported where it got the e-mails between the Times and the dead former aviator/film producer/obsessive-compulsive recluse billionaire. The first e-mail of the three from Hughes is the longest, according to Wikileaks, and begins with asking about a book that was supposed to come out in the early 1970s by Clifford Irving about Hughes.
“It occurs to me as I’m sitting here with my boy Andy Kaufman over here that there was supposed to be a biography come out about 40 years or so ago,” part of the first e-mail read. “Clifford Erving (sic) was working on it. What the hell happened with that?”
The further e-mails purportedly from Hughes, who would be 105 years old today, do not answer the questions the Times asks about why Hughes would have wanted to fake his death in 1976, and what he’s been doing since then. Nor does “Hughes” answer the questions by the Times about the first e-mail’s reference to comedian Andy Kaufman, who died in 1984.
The second of the three e-mails goes on to question the division of Hughes’ will after his “death,” asking “why in the hell hasn’t Melvin Dummar gotten anything from my will? You got the will, right? I know he dropped it off at the Momon’s Church like I told him to. Give him some love! What the hell has (Noah) Dietrich been doing all this time? He can get Dummar the money.” The Times said in its final e-mail response that Dietrich, who acted as Hughes CEO and right hand man until 1957, died in 1982.
The New York Times has not commented on the leaked e-mails, and Wikileaks has not confirmed who the recipient at the newspaper was.
The final portion of the final e-mail supposedly sent by Hughes praises and critiques film portrayals of him over the past three decades.
“Robards was pretty good in that one,” the e-mail said, referring to “Melvin and Howard,” the 1980 film by Jonathan Demme starring Jason Robards as Hughes. “But that boy from Titanic? (Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004’s ‘The Aviator.’) Eh. He’s okay, I guess. Wasn’t horrible. I liked him better on ‘Growing Pains.’ And what was that other one he did? ‘The Departed’– that was pretty good.”