The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty

The Hiltons: The True Story of an American Dynasty

J. Randy Taraborrelli

Language: English

Pages: 560

ISBN: 1455516694

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


THE HILTONS is a sweeping saga of the success-and excess-of an iconic American family. Demanding and enigmatic, patriarch Conrad Hilton's visionary ideas and unyielding will established the model for the modern luxury hotel industry. But outside the boardroom, Conrad struggled with emotional detachment, failed marriages, and conflicted Catholicism. Then there were his children: Playboy Nicky Hilton's tragic alcoholism and marriage to Elizabeth Taylor was the stuff of tabloid legend. Barron Hilton, on the other hand, deftly handled his father's legacy, carrying the Hilton brand triumphantly into the new millennium. Eric, raised apart from his older brothers, accepted his supporting role in the Hilton dynasty with calm and quiet-a stark contrast to the boys' much younger half-sister Francesca, whose battle for recognition led her into courtrooms and conflict. The cast of supporting players includes the inimitable Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was married to Conrad briefly and remained a thorn in his side for decades, and a host of other Hollywood and business luminaries with whom the Hiltons crossed paths and swords over the years.

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him, always with their noses to the grindstone. He was especially proud of Eric at this time, he noted, because immediately after Nicky’s death, Eric became instrumental in the creation of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management (still supported today by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation). Ground had already been broken for the Hilton University of Houston hotel. Eric had proven himself as a Hilton, Conrad said. And of course, Barron was his father’s son in every way. “But

calling him from the main kitchen of Conrad’s estate, Casa Encantada. “Conrad has asked me to marry him.” “Well, I’ll be! Congratulations, Frannie,” Bill exclaimed. “That’s great news!” Then, just as suddenly as her joyous proclamation had nearly floored him, her tone changed. “But I have my reservations,” she said. He couldn’t imagine what such reservations could be. Obviously his sister and Conrad got along; they had a wonderful relationship, at least as far as he could see. It seemed to him

case was an attack on the moral values and work ethic of Conrad Hilton,” Hilton attorney Ralph Nutter then declared. “He believed his children and grandchildren should work for a living and that was a virtue, hardly an insane delusion.” Obviously, Francesca Hilton was disappointed by the judge’s decision. She took it hard. “For years, she had fought for recognition, and that’s what this case was really about—recognition and acknowledgment,” said one close friend of hers. “But, in a sense, the

Rick’s sons, Conrad III and Barron, have led mostly quiet lives, though both did put the family in headlines when they were involved in separate high-profile automobile mishaps. Luckily, both young Hilton men have the advantage of coming from a close-knit family with parents who have not only been loving but often strict. It obviously doesn’t mean the Hilton offspring won’t sometimes get into trouble. It does, however, mean that they have a strong foundation upon which to stand when faced with

Event” (white dinner jacket required) and then “Conrad’s Special Evening Event” (black tie only). “You were swept off your feet by these activities,” recalled Margaret O’Brien. “It was exciting and fun but also a lot of work. Sometimes it felt like a job! But the extravagance was overwhelming. Money was being spent like there was no tomorrow. Everything was first-rate.” The merriment culminated on Sunday, August 14, when the Beverly Hilton was finally opened to the public, with a dapper Conrad

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