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.
Master of the quick celebrity bio (Idol: Rock Hudson, etc.), Oppenheimer does a cursory, glib job of dishing the dirt on the famous hotelier dynasty established by Conrad Hilton by the 1920s. Oppenheimer begins and ends his increasingly sordid saga with the plight of the youngest in the Hilton line, arriviste Paris, who made herself an instant household name in 2002 with an erotic home video pirated on the Internet. Oppenheimer works backward from Paris's maternal line, which stars a succession of pushy stage moms and gold diggers like her mother, Kathleen, a successful child model; he then moves on to her paternal line, featuring great-grandfather Conrad Hilton, a big-talking Catholic German from San Antonio, Tex., who made a name and a fortune buying hotels, eventually marrying the apocryphal Miss Hungary, Zsa Zsa Gabor. However, with his first wife, Mary, he produced the three sons (Nick, Barron, and Eric) who would fuel the subsequent family slide, especially glamorous firstborn Nicky, the deeply alcoholic Hollywood skirt chaser who had the honor of being Elizabeth Taylor's first husband (for seven months). The reader will gasp to learn of the Hilton men's sexual athletics and shudder to hear that such a privileged family could be so shockingly uneducated and uncouth.
Cover picture is misleading
If you're thinking of reading this book because it's all about Paris, let me warning you now and tell you it is Not! This book is more about Paris's maternal grandmother "Big" Kathy and Paris's great uncle Nicky Hilton on her paternal side. I actually knew this before reading this book due to other reviews and because I'm a huge fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills I really wanted to know the back story of Kim & Kyle Richards up bringing. A lot f it made sense why Kim is the way she is. I also enjoyed reading about Nicky and all the starlets he chased in Hollywood. Overall a good read
Not very well written
The content tends to shift in a random manner. Pronouns are used in such a way that it is often hard to discern the subject of a sentence.