Volume 20, Issue 1 (January 1975)
The Clifford Irving Hoax of the Howard Hughes Autobiography
Clifford Irving, a writer, with the help of his wife Edith and an associate, Richard Suskind, also a writer, convinced the editorial staffs of McGraw-Hill Book Co. and Life Magazine that he had obtained the written permission of Howard Hughes to write the story of his life. Irving did this by relating alleged meetings with Hughes in detail, inserting anecdotes he had found through an exhaustive research of Hughes' past, to members of the McGraw-Hill and Life Magazine managerial staff. To further bolster his claim that he had indeed talked with Hughes, and had, in fact, obtained his permission to do the Hughes' autobiography, Irving had “Hughes” write a letter to Mr. Harold McGraw, president of McGraw-Hill, informing him of the arrangement. Irving subsequently produced other letters allegedly written by Hughes. Irving and his associates were successful in proving to Life and McGraw-Hill that he had a pact With Mr. Hughes; he was, however, unable to convince Mr. Hughes of that fact. As a result, the matter was brought to the attention of the Postal Inspection Service by attorneys for both Hughes and Irving, demanding justice.