Barron Hilton, who expanded his father’s hotel empire and was a grandfather of Paris, has died aged 91

Paris Hilton gives her grandfather Barron Hilton a kiss. The hotel mogul was 91

Barron Hilton, who made his father Conrad’s empire the most recognizable hotel brand, has died aged 91.

As Hilton developed his father Conrad’s hotel chain business, it was quoted by the Los Angeles Times that the years as owner of the Chargers were his happiest.

Hilton was the last surviving member of the AFL, a league that would be swallowed up by the NFL after the 1970 merger and the AFL New York Jets’ Super Bowl III success.

Hilton is also popularly recognized as a member of the “Foolish Club”: eight businessmen who mustered resources to launch the American Football League, NFL’s rival in the 1960s, Bolts of the blue, indicated a site dedicated to Chargers.

Hilton paid $ 25,000 to get a franchise when he founded the Chargers. Despite a successful inaugural season with a 10-4 record, losing to the Oilers in the league title game, the Chargers were not attracting interest in the seats. The Chargers, who shared the Colosseum with the Rams, could only shoot 14,000 in the stands. The Rams average at least 50,000.

Vintage photo of Barron Hilton, as he made his father's hotel brand the most recognizable in the world

Barron Hilton late in his life.  The hotel mogul has died at 91

Vintage photo of Barron Hilton (left), who leaned on his father’s iconic hotel brand and (right) in his later years

Barron Hilton, who guided the globally growing family business, has died at 91

Barron Hilton, who guided the globally growing family business, has died at 91

Chargers reflect on the death of Barron Hilton, their first owner

Chargers reflect on the death of Barron Hilton, their first owner

After losing $ 900,000 in the Chargers’ first year in office in Los Angeles, he moved the team to San Diego and enjoyed a period of success, winning five West Division titles and the 1963 AFL Championship during Hilton’s tenure.

Although he became a billionaire with his holdings in Hilton, he told the Los Angeles Times in 2009 that “the happiest days of my life were the days I got involved with the Chargers.”

Hilton also created the defunct Carte Blanche credit card, which he said could have been the inspiration for the name of the football franchise.

He sold a controlling stake in the team in 1966 for $ 10 million. The 2019 version paid tribute to its legacy in a statement they posted on social media that read in part:

“Put simply, the modern NFL wouldn’t be what it is today without Barron Hilton’s vision.”

It was in Hilton’s role as league president in 1965 that he helped negotiate the eventual merger of the AFL with the NFL.

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Barron Hilton, who would lead his father’s hotel empire to global growth, has died aged 91

Barron Hilton (left) with one of his San Diego Chargers.  The football president was a hotel mogul with his father's mark

Barron Hilton (left) with one of his San Diego Chargers. The football president was a hotel mogul with his father’s mark

“From the start, we had hoped at one point that we would have a merger,” Hilton reminded the Los Angeles Times. “But we also wanted a successful league, and we got it.”

On the hotel side, Hilton took his father’s successful brand and switched to gambling with the purchase of two Las Vegas casinos – the Flamingo and the International, from Kirk Kerkorian, and renamed it Las Vegas Hilton. Within months, their gambling revenues accounted for 40% of the company’s profits, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But Hilton hasn’t always had the Midas touch.

in 1985, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission rejected its application for a gambling license after it had already built a $ 320 million casino in Atlantic City. The commission cited Hilton’s 13-year relationship with Sidney Korshak, a Chicago labor attorney with suspected links to organized crime, the Los Angeles Times reported. It took six years, as Hilton sold the new property to Donald Trump, ended its business relationship with Korshak, and eventually got a license in New Jersey.

He is survived by two daughters and six sons, including Steven, the president of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Richard, the father of Paris Hilton and her three siblings.

While her father and granddaughter have been in the limelight, this Hilton stepped back. Instead, he focused on the businesses he started and the charities he supported.

The Conrad Hilton Foundation website said it “is 97% committed from his fortune to the Foundation’s humanitarian action. ‘

“The Hilton family mourns the loss of a remarkable man,” said Steven Hilton, son of Barron and chairman of the board of the Hilton Foundation. “My father was a loving husband to our mother, Marilyn, a wonderful role model for her eight children, a loyal and generous friend, a visionary businessman, a respected leader and a passionate athlete. He lived a life of great adventure and exceptional accomplishments.

Hilton is also survived by 15 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. His wife, Marilyn Hawley Hilton, died in 2004 after sixty years of marriage.

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