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Irving, Clifford (1930–)

AUTHOR CLIFFORD Irving perpetrated a literary hoax by pretending that he was helping Howard Hughes (1905–76) write an authorized biography. The sizeable public interest in Hughes, billionaire adventurer, aviation pioneer and movie mogul, an entrepreneur with deep involvement at the highest political levels of government, was due to his seclusion and eccentric habits. Hughes had not been seen in public nor made any public statement for many years. Irving firmly believed that the reclusive Hughes would not come out of reclusion to refute the fabrication.

Irving approached his publisher, McGraw-Hill, in 1971 with the story that he had a manuscript based on letters and interviews with Hughes, whom he claimed authorized the biography. This literary coup would have resulted in a major bestseller for McGraw-Hill because ...

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