Jean Peters is probably best known for her role in Viva Zapata but may be better loved by noir fans for movies such as Niagara, Pickup on South Street, A Blueprint for Murder and Vicki.
She is also the woman who, some would argue, made Howard Hughes a bigamist. Howard had dated many beautiful women during his sojourn in Hollywood, among them apparently Ava Gardner, Gene Tierney, Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland.
It was in 1949 that somewhere amongst this parade of beauties, he took actress Terry Moore on a mini-vacation in his yacht to Mexico and according to her memoirs, he then married her. He also lived with her for a while in a shack in Las Vegas and they continued to see each other on-and-off over the next ten years. Terry went on to claim that they never got divorced and after Hughes' death, the Hughes estate agreed a settlement with her. Why would they do that unless it had really happened? Well, it might have been just to get rid of her, I suppose - I guess now we'll never know. Some credence to the tale is given by the fact that Terry was raised as a Mormon and Hughes in later life would only allow Mormons around him to take care of his needs and often said he found them more trustworthy.
But where does Jean Peters come into all this? Well, despite his other dalliances, Hughes became obsessed with Jean to the point where he employed agents to shadow her everywhere - something the production staff on Niagara found alarming. Hughes had apparently first proposed to Jean in 1947 but she'd turned him down because she wanted to concentrate on her career. Eventually, she gave in and married him in 1957.
But wait, wasn't he already married to Terry Moore at this point? And doesn't that make Hughes - gulp - a bigamist?
Jean Peters - worth breaking the law for?
If so, it doesn't seem to have affected the marriage all that much as Jean and Hughes remained married for fourteen years until 1971 when she then married producer Stanley Hough.