Howard Hughes (1905 - 1976) Howard Hughes was an American businessmen and one of the richest people in the world. He inherited his family's engineering company when he was only 18 and built up his business empire to include movie studios, aircraft companies and airlines. But Hughes had a fear of illness and spent most of his life trying to avoid contact with germs. During his last years, he lay naked in bed in dark rooms, refusing to touch anything. When he had to get out of bed, he wore tissue boxes on his feet instead of shoes. He quickly burned any clothes he had worn. Hughes was terrified of catching even the slightest illness. He wrote a handbook for his staff that included instructions on how to open tins of fruit. The label had to be removed and the tin washed before it was opened, and the fruit had to be poured into a sterile dish. Towards the end of his life, Hughes' behaviour became even stranger. He became a recluse, and rarely took a bath, cleaned his teeth or cut his hair or fingernails. When he died, his body was so unrecognisable fingerprints were the only way the police could identify him. Madame Tussaud (1761 - 1850) When she was a young girl, Marie Tussaud lived with her mother in the home of a rich doctor whose hobby was modelling figures in wax. Tussaud began making wax figures herself, and when the doctor opened an exhibition of his work in Paris, she became his assistant. But when she was in her late teens, the French Revolution broke out and Tussaud was imprisoned because of her association with rich aristocrats. She escaped execution because of her talent in working with wax and was given the grisly job of making death masks from the heads of aristocrats executed by the guillotine. Tussaud was a clever businesswoman at a time when the business world was dominated by men. When the Revolution ended, she took her bizarre collection of death masks on a tour of Great Britain and made a lot of money. Tussaud decided to stay in the UK. In 1835, she opened a permanent wax exhibition in London. She added wax figures of English murderers and criminals to her collection and it was a great success. Today, Madame Tussaud's waxworks of famous people are found in New York, Hong Kong and London. William Randolph Hearst (1863 - 1951) William Randolph Hearst was the son of a Californian self-made multimillionaire. At the age of 23, he became the owner of the San Francisco Examiner, a newspaper his father had been given to pay off a gambling debt. Hearst soon turned the old-fashioned Examiner into a lively, modern newspaper. He was on his way to becoming the world's first media tycoon. At the peak of his career, Hearst owned 28 newspapers, several magazines, many radio stations and a few film companies. In the 1920s, he had the wacky idea of building a castle in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Hearst Castle covers 40,000 acres. It is like a small, self-contained town. The main house is a copy of a Spanish cathedral, with 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms and 19 sitting rooms. There are swimming pools, tennis courts, a cinema, an airfield and a private zoo in the grounds. Hearst was an egotistical, larger-than-life character. During his lifetime he was involved in many controversies and made many enemies. The wacky, dramatic castle he built for himself in California was perfectly suited to his personality and the way he lived his life.