DescriptionRare Collection of Love Letters by Howard Hughes to Billie Dove This dark-eyed, wavy-haired beauty was born Lillian Bohny at New York City in 1901 and entered show business at age 15 after being an artist's model. She was discovered by Flo Ziegfeld and by age 16, Billie was a featured "Ziegfeld Girl" making the incredible sum of $50 a week. In 1920, she made her first movie and was well received. She made 43 additional movies in the next decade. She was one of the most beautiful girls on the screen, dubbed the "American Beauty," the title of one of her starring films in 1927. In her heyday, she was ranked with Clara Bow and Colleen Moore in popularity and often surpassed Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson and even Greta Garbo as a box-office draw. During this same period, Howard Hughes was a young film producer, a millionaire from his family's business. Fate intervened one night in early 1929 when Howard and Billie met on the Starlight dance floor of the Biltmore Hotel in Hollywood. It was love at first sight and for the next few years they were one of the most talked-about couples in America. Dove's marriage was already coming to a close when they met as was Hughes'. He arranged to pay off both spouses in exchange for uncontested divorces, freeing Hughes and Dove to marry. Why did they never marry? Theories point toward Hughes' philandering and his extreme jealousy which would eventually doom the relationship. Miss Dove kept all these letters for more than six decades. She obviously treasured them and her memories. Hughes spoke regularly and lovingly of Miss Dove for many years, often to the consternation of other lovers. Hughes truly loved the "American Beauty" and considered her his soul mate. Many of Hughes' friends have said that Billie Dove was the love of his life. This beautiful collection documents that Billie Dove was the "one that got away." There are dozens of items included in this presentation. Autograph collectors know how rare early Howard Hughes handwritten letters are. There are ten included here, of one to five pages each. Four are signed "Howard" and the remainder with some pet name initials. Also in this lot are eleven autograph notes, a typed letter, an unpublished original typed love poem, eleven envelopes (nine addressed in Hughes' hand), five telegrams, a Christmas card, several original photographs sized 4" x 5" up to 8" x 10", as well as several pages of notes written in Billie Dove's hand regarding her first meeting with Hughes and other precious memories. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to own such an intimate group of items from one the century's most powerful men, absolutely smitten by a beautiful and talented lady. A book could be (and should be) written about this love affair that took place more than seventy years ago but can still touch hearts today. Accompanied by COA from PSA/DNA.
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