In 1887, Conrad Hilton was born in San Antonio, the son of a Norwegian immigrant and a German-American. He died at age 91 a very rich man courtesy of his Hilton Hotels. While Hilton’s story falls within the American Dream genre, he also flirted with tabloid drama and Hollywood scandal as the second of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s nine husbands (for the record, Gabor claimed that their child together was the product of rape, and that she had an affair with Hilton’s son, Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr.).
But the original Conrad Hilton probably never could have imagined the extent to which, fewer than four decades later, the Hilton name has become synonymous with reality-TV stardom, TMZ headlines, and NSFW screenshots. Nor could he likely comprehend that his most famous progeny, Paris, is neither a CEO nor a housewife, but rather a global celebrity sensation turned in-demand Ibiza DJ. In a way, Conrad Hilton actually achieved the ultimate American Dream: becoming so ridiculously wealthy that your kids and grandkids have no choice but to inevitably disrespect your memory with their lavish spending habits and underwhelming résumés.
America’s love affair with the Hilton family goes far deeper than towel swans and decent room service. It’s fair to say that there’s no early-Aughts pop-culture figure as universally beloved as Paris Hilton, who, at what looked to be no more than 95 pounds wet, managed to revolutionize reality TV, launch a global catchphrase, and make Kim Kardashian her closet-organizing bitch. Now that Hilton has entered into what appears to be an early retirement, complete with a hot young partner and increasingly offensive political beliefs, it’s time for a new Hilton to reign in infamy. Luckily enough, Paris’ younger brother, the predictably named Conrad Hughes Hilton III, has been campaigning for that job (and no others!) for a few years now.
Like his older sis, Conrad has the blond hair, blue eyes, and strong bone structure to pull off a modeling campaign or a mug shot. But before you write him off as just another 23-year-old spoiled American scion with behavioral issues, rest assured that Hilton has much more than just a DUI or an Andover notice of expulsion in his back pocket.
Like so many young boys, Conrad started out playing with cars. Of course, when you’re a Hilton, that means crashing your BMW in a high-speed police chase. Why couldn’t Conrad have a normal rich kid hobby, like skiing the real or metaphorical slopes or hunting majestic animals for sport? At the tender age of 21, Hilton was hit with a felony charge of reckless evasion of a peace officer. Unfortunately for him and his family’s team of lawyers, transportation quickly proved itself to be an insurmountable challenge for the young heir, who went on to throw the type of plane tantrum that teething infants and exasperated employees can only dream of. That tour de force performance was instantly immortalized in a barrage of headlines heralding the Hilton heir as a true terror (I’d recommend “The 6 most outrageous details from Conrad Hilton’s in-flight meltdown”).
According to reports from the July 31, 2014, flight from London to Los Angeles, Hilton transformed the flight cabin into a personal runway, marching down the aisles and cursing out the flight attendants. He lashed out at a customer-service manager who was attempting to monitor him, screaming, “I am going to fucking kill you!” and “I will fucking rip through you!”
“My father will pay this out, he has done it before. Dad paid $300,000 last time,” Hilton allegedly told a flight attendant, according to court papers.
Hilton also allegedly coined his own catchphrase during the flight, calling his fellow passengers “fucking peasants” numerous times. As Shakespeare once said, all the world’s a stage, and you’re all fucking peasants. Also, Hilton locked himself in the airplane bathroom and smoked some weed. Unsurprisingly, Hilton faced federal charges of interfering with flight crew members, and had to surrender to the FBI, subsequently pleading guilty to simple assault. Hilton was sentenced to probation and community service for his mid-air antics.
Lesson learned, right? Wrong! Hilton proceeded to put the “psych!” in psychopathic tendencies by violating his probation on multiple counts, including trespassing, failing drug tests, and failing to complete his three treatment programs. Less than a week after Hilton was placed on his three years’ probation, he was caught outside the home of ex-girlfriend Hunter Daily Salomon—and arrested, since Salomon had procured a restraining order against him just a month earlier. Understandably, these flagrant violations led to Hilton being ordered into a residential substance-abuse treatment center for 90 days.
Innumerable rich kids and child stars have made mandatory rehab their temporary home. What separates Conrad from his vaguely criminal cohort is what happened next. For his next stunt, Hilton merged his history of car-related infractions with his tendency toward stalking behavior.
At this point, it’s time to take a minute to talk about Hunter Daily Salomon and her family tree. Salomon’s parents aren’t just sadists who named their daughter Hunter Daily on purpose—they’re also actress Elizabeth Daily (Valley Girl, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) and poker player Rick Salomon, who’s most famous for his high-profile relationships. In addition to marrying Shannen Doherty and Pamela Anderson (twice!), Salomon once made a sex tape with a relatively unknown heiress by the name of Paris Hilton. That’s right: Conrad Hilton’s ex is the daughter of the co-star of One Night in Paris, a sex tape taken in by none other than family friends Donald and Melania Trump. It’s a web of interwoven genetics and sexual ties so tangled, it’s practically Shakespearean (if Shakespeare was working in the era of the celebrity sex tape). Most people like to stay multiple degrees of sexual separation away from their siblings—not this guy! If making a sex tape together meant eternal matrimony, then Conrad Hilton would basically be dating his niece—then again, if making a sex tape together meant eternal matrimony, then we wouldn’t have For the Love of Ray J, Pamlian Assanderson, or North West.
Knowing that Rick Salomon tried to profit off Paris Hilton’s spoiled-brat reputation, and even claimed that he “couldn’t get laid” after the sex tape came out, it sort of follows that Conrad Hilton would take it upon himself to run off with his car. After his successful attempt, Hilton went on to make a 4 a.m. trip to Elizabeth Daily’s house. All of this nighttime intrigue went over about as well as expected. When officers arrived at the scene, Hilton allegedly unleashed a verbal tirade, telling them that, “I’m Conrad motherfucking Hilton, don’t you forget it.” The 23-year-old was promptly charged with grand theft auto and held on $60,000 bail.
In a subsequent court appearance, Conrad appeared unhinged—he “shouted homophobic slurs and claimed to have been assaulted by police,” describing a photographer as “so fucking gay” and telling the judge that “I do not have sex with hookers.” Hilton was released into his father’s custody and ordered to enter into a Houston psychiatric hospital for diagnosis. If convicted as charged, Hilton faces as much as four years in jail.