Conrad Hilton Jr. was an American socialite and businessman. He is best remembered as the oldest son of hotelier and founder of the ‘Hilton’ chain of hotels Conrad Hilton. Apart from handling his business, he also appeared in many documentary series and movies that were aired on television. Hilton Jr. was infamous for his notorious affairs which overshadowed his achievements as a businessman. Hungarian-American actress Zsa Zsa Gabor claimed that he had an affair with her in 1944 when she was still married to his father Conrad Hilton. He also had an affair with a Mexican actress named Silvia Pinal in the late 1950s after meeting her at the inauguration ceremony of a hotel in Acapulco, Mexico. Conrad Hilton Jr. was portrayed by actor Eric Gustavson in the 1995 Kevin Connor-directed television movie ‘Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story.’
Childhood & Early Life
Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr. was born on July 6, 1926, in Dallas, Texas, USA, to Conrad Nicholson Hilton and Mary Adelaide Barron. He was of English, Norwegian, German, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh descent. He was raised in Dallas along with his younger brothers William Barron Hilton and Eric Michael Hilton.
After graduating from high school, Hilton Jr. went to the ‘New Mexico Military Institute’ (NMMI), a public military junior college in Roswell, New Mexico. He then took over some of his father’s businesses. He also assisted him in the smooth conduct of ‘Hilton Hotels Corporation’ and ‘Hilton International Company.’
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Though Conrad Hilton Jr. was recognized as one of the prominent businessmen in Texas during his time, details of his entrepreneurial career has not been documented. His career as a businessman mainly revolved around his father’s business ventures.
As one of the members of the high society, Conrad Hilton Jr. was a well-known socialite who spent most of his time attending several social gatherings and important public events. He also attended events organized by famous Hollywood stars.
He was seen in many documentary series and movies that were aired on television. He made his television debut in 1975 when he appeared as himself in Pat Shields-directed biographical documentary movie ‘Elizabeth Taylor - An Intimate Portrait.’ Hosted by Peter Lawford, the documentary features clips from Elizabeth Taylor's films. Lawford is also seen discussing with Taylor's family members, close friends, and colleagues throughout the documentary.
In 1997, he made a brief appearance in Jonathan Martin-directed short documentary video ‘Great Romances of the 20th Century: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.’ The following year, he was seen in one of the episodes of the TV documentary series ‘E! True Hollywood Story.’
In 2002, he appeared as himself (archive footage) in Kathleen Murfa-directed documentary movie ‘Hollywood's Greatest Weddings.’ In 2003, he was seen in an episode titled ‘Elizabeth Taylor: Facets’ in the TV documentary series ‘Biography.’ He had earlier appeared in the series in 1996 in an episode titled ‘Conrad Hilton: Innkeeper to the World.’
In 2007, he made an appearance in an episode titled ‘Life-Changing Moments’ in the TV documentary series ‘20 to 1.’ In 2011, he was seen in a TV documentary movie titled ‘Elizabeth Taylor: A Tribute.’ The documentary featured interviews with friends, family, and colleagues of Elizabeth Taylor.
Family & Personal Life
His father Conrad Nicholson Hilton formed the ‘Hilton International Company’ and ‘Hilton Hotels Corporation.’ He owned 188 hotels across 38 cities in the United States. Some of the hotels owned by him include ‘Mayflower Hotel,’ ‘Plaza Hotel,’ and ‘Palmer House.’ He also purchased a credit card company later in his career.
Hilton Jr’s younger brother William Barron Hilton inherited 4 million shares of the hotel enterprise upon his father’s death. He served as the former chief executive officer, chairman, president of Hilton Hotels Corporation. He is one of the founding members of ‘American Football League’ (AFL) who owned the popular football team ‘Los Angeles Chargers.’
His youngest brother Eric Michael Hilton was a hotelier and philanthropist. During the ‘Korean War,’ Michael Hilton served as a radar specialist in the ‘United States Army.’ In 1959, he started serving as the manager of the ‘Deshler Hilton’ and later served as the manager of the ‘Shamrock Hilton.’ From 1977 to 2016, he served on the board of directors of a nonprofit organization called ‘Little League Foundation of America.’
Conrad Hilton Jr. also had a half-sister named Constance Francesca Gabor Hilton. She was born from Conrad Hilton’s second marriage with actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Francesca starred in a couple of films titled ‘A Safe Place’ and ‘The Gravy Train.’ She then worked as a photographer and was involved in the business dealings of ‘Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.’ Later in her career, she started performing as a comedian at ‘The Comedy Store’ in West Hollywood.
Hilton Jr. had many romantic affairs throughout his life. After his death, his ex-stepmother Zsa Zsa Gabor claimed that he had an affair with her in 1944 when she was still married to his father.
On May 6, 1950, he married popular American-British actress Elizabeth Taylor. Their marriage did not last long as Elizabeth Taylor claimed that Hilton's habits and abusive behavior horrified her. Taylor and Hilton got divorced on January 29, 1951.
Hilton Jr. had an affair with actress Silvia Pinal in the late 1950s. On November 26, 1958, he got married to Patricia McClintock. On January 29, 1960, Pinal and Hilton were blessed with a son named Conrad Nicholson Hilton III. On June 12, 1961, the couple was blessed with their second son Michael Otis Hilton. On February 10, 1964, McClintock filed for a divorce which was finalized in 1965.
Conrad Hilton Jr. died of an alcoholism-related heart attack on February 5, 1969. His mortal remains were buried at ‘Holy Cross Cemetery’ in Culver City, California. In 1995, actor Eric Gustavson played Conrad Hilton Jr. in a television movie titled ‘Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story.’