Millionaire Producer Howard Hughes’ Racism Triggers Emotional Collapse in a West Hollywood Screening Room

The building that housed Nosseck’s screening room as it appears today – the screening room was on the basement level

Movie producer Howard Hughes, then America’s most famous millionaire, spent his last years in the throes of what many believe was an untreated obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was also a virulent racist. One night in the spring of 1958, after learning that the all-black cast of “Porgy and Bess” had used his screening room at the Goldwyn studio (The Lot today), he moved to Nosseck’s screening room at 9102 Sunset Blvd.[map] on the Strip.

He stayed there for weeks, screening movies and consuming nothing but milk, Hershey bars, pecans and Poland water. Whatever the diagnosis might have been, the summer he spent at Nosseck’s was the first vivid presentment of bouts of derangement that marked his final years. As the summer wound down, Hughes regained a semblance of himself and returned to his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Left: “Porgy and Bess” poster. Right: Hughes in 1958.