Clifford Irving: The Westport Connection

Every obituary of Clifford Irving — who died Tuesday at 87 — note his claim to fame: In 1971 he wrote a fake autobiography of the eccentric and reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, based on non-existent meetings and interviews.

But no obituary I’ve seen has mentioned a nearly as bizarre part of the author’s life: the garbage at his Westport home.

According to “Empire: The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes” — a real book — E. Howard Hunt was known for more than just his conviction in the Watergate burglary (and subsequent cover-up).

Hunt also worked for Hughes. One of his assignments was to figure out the cost for someone to comb through the trash at Irving’s house. The aim was to find out if Irving was writing a follow-up book about Hughes, or had a connection with Hughes’ enemy Robert Maheu.

That’s all I know. If any “06880” reader has more information on Clifford Irving’s Westport years — including whether he lived here while writing his “Autobiography of Howard Hughes” — click “Comments” below.

(For a link to the “Empire” book that mentions Westport, click here.)

Clifford Irving, in 1972. (Photo/Jack Manning for the New York Times)

One response to “Clifford Irving: The Westport Connection

  1. Maybe Clifford Irving did live in Westport. And maybe Howard Hunt was correct (this time). But if it turns out that he was mistaken, there may be a good reason for his misapprehension. On several occasions, I enjoyed speaking with Philip Lorber, one of my predecessors on the Westport ZBA. He once told me that, as a result of his representation of Clifford Irving during “The Hoax” trial, he kept all of Irving’s original notes in his (Lorber’s) home off of Calvary Road.