This intimate, shocking—and thoroughly unauthorized—portrait of the Hiltons chronicles the family’s amazing odyssey from poverty and obscurity to glory and glamour.
From Conrad Hilton, the eccentric “innkeeper to the world” who built a global empire beginning with a fleabag in a dusty Texas backwater, to Paris Hilton, his great-granddaughter, whose fame took off with a sex video, House of Hilton is the unauthorized, eye-popping portrait of one of America’s most outrageous dynasties.
If you want to know how Paris Hilton became who she is, you have to know where she came from. From scores of candid and exclusive interviews, from private documents and public records, New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer has dug deeply into her paternal and maternal family roots to reveal the often shocking, tragic, and comic lives that helped shape the world’s most famous and fabulous “celebutante.”
The cast of characters includes Paris’s maternal grandmother, a materialistic “stage mother from hell.” There is Paris’s maternal grandfather, who became an alcoholic housepainter. The life of Paris’s mother, Kathy Hilton, groomed by her mother to be a star and marry rich, is candidly revealed, too, as is that of Paris’s father, Rick, Conrad’s grandson.
Paris’s tabloid antics are truly in the Hilton tradition. Set against a glittery Hollywood backdrop—with appearances by stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Natalie Wood, and Joan Collins—House of Hilton brings to light a cornucopia of closely held Hilton family secrets and sexual peccadilloes, such as the many affairs and the nightclub-brawling, boozing, and pill-popping life of Paris’s great-uncle, Nick Hilton. The story of his hellish marriage to Liz Taylor alone rivals any of today’s Hollywood breakups.
Behind it all was Conrad Hilton, who built his worldwide empire through the Great Depression while others were jumping out of windows. A devout Catholic publicly, his personal life was that of an unrepentant sinner. His first marriage was to Mary Barron Hilton, a sexy, hard-drinking, gambling Kentucky teenager half Conrad’s age. Wife number two was the gorgeous Zsa Zsa, who, like Paris, was famous for being famous. Their tumultuous marriage and headline-making divorce are revealed here in all their juicy glory.
In all, House of Hilton is a gripping American saga, from the fire and passions that built a business empire to the debauchery and amorality passed on from one generation to the next.
From the Hardcover edition.
- Crown/Archetype, November 2006
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