It’s a little weird to read this book over a decade after it was released because the focus is so clearly Paris Hilton and the pearl-clutching over the (at the time) new phenomena of being “famous for nothing”. This isn’t really something that’s interesting to talk or read about anymore and there’s an additional 1/4 of the book that revolves around her great uncle Nick Hilton for some reason. Even if the book is about people curious about Paris, I couldn’t name my grandfather’s brothers, I don’t know why he is relevant to the story but it’s interesting if you’re really into old movie stars (though I can’t imagine this is the same audience). I picked up House of Hilton primarily to read about Kim and Kyle Richards of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, so here are some things I learned from the book as they’re relevant to this minor plot line of the author’s story.
The mother of the Richards girls (Kim Richards, Kyle Richards Umansky, and Kathy Hilton) was really, REALLY out there
— Kathleen Dugan Avanzino Richards Catain Fenton (known as “Big Kathy” to differentiate her from her daughter, Kathy Hilton) was married at least 4 times. (She may have married one husband twice).
— From an early age Big Kathy instructed her daughters (and later grandchildren) to adhere to her life philosophy of marrying rich and having lots of babies (with rich men). They’ve all pretty much followed this advice. At one point she boasted, “My daughters are married to men who have a total net worth of $13 billion.”
— Big Kathy set her sights on Ken Richards while he was still married. They began having an affair and the book alleges that one night Kathy drugged Ken’s wife at a bar, followed her out to her vehicle and slammed her ankle in the car door. Later on, she served Ken’s daughter, Diane, a cheeseburger with a screw baked into the middle of it.
— From the book: “Big Kathy told Ken that she wanted Kathy [Hilton] to know all about sex, and how to perform sex, literally, the best way possible,” asserts Sylvia Richards. “So she asked a young man to teach her in his van.
— Big Kathy was even rumored to be a Hollywood Madam because she hooked so many young girls (friends of her daughters) up with rich, older men.
— Once she hooked a guy (through marriage and/or having children with them), she lost interest. Of her last husband, she bragged, “I don’t do shit for Bob. I won’t travel with him. I won’t cook for him. I won’t do anything for him.”
— She had Bob sell his home and put the $250k profits into renovations for Kathy’s own Palm Springs home. When Kathy died, she gave Bob one year to get out of the house he helped pay for, as she left it to her daughters.
— This is the home some people think Kyle “stole” from her sisters. You can tour the inside of the home here.
— Kim grew up a child star so she basically had no rules or real parenting.
— Her second marriage was to Gregg Davis of the very wealthy oil family. Gregg’s father, Marvin, spoiled his children and wrote them into real estate deals where they didn’t actually do anything. When they would get money like this, Gregg would do things like give Kim a check for a million dollars and tell her to do whatever she wanted.
— Kathy Hilton tried to set Kim up with Donald Trump. He would call her and invite her to New York and pay for her to come and hang out with him.
— Kim’s third husband, John Collett, created some kind of real estate ponzi scheme and was eventually shot execution style in a deli by a hit man.
— Donald Trump is quoted in the book praising Paris: “Paris, in many ways, has done very well,” he observes. “People like to knock her and criticize her for some of the things [she’s done], but in many respects, Paris has done very well.”
— I guess there was a feeling when Paris became famous that she was doing a disservice to her family or dishonoring their legacy but the whole legacy of the Hilton family was pretty much making money, being famous, and partying so she pretty much is just living up to her name.
— Paris’ great uncle Nick Hilton is one of the most famous party boys of all time. He famously is one of Elizabeth Taylor’s 8 marriages, had an affair with his stepmother Zsa Zsa Gabor and also dated Hollywood stars like Natalie Wood.
— Supposedly, Paris’ grandfather, Barron Hilton, told his friends he wasn’t ashamed of Paris’ antics (her partying, the sex tape, her famous for nothing aesthetic) saying “Good for her! She’s the only one in that family making so much money.”
— (And she was making money, Paris made $20 million in 2005 while the Hilton Hotels saw a 30% increase in business).
— Paris’ most famous single ‘Stars are Blind’ was produced by Scott Storch, a friend of the Kardashian family who at one point was worth $70 million from his music career. Then he got addicted to coke and spent as much as $30 million in six months on drugs and luxury goods (like 117 foot yacht) he purchased while high. He filed for bankruptcy in 2015.
— Of Stars are Blind Scott said, “If people are given the right circumstances, and the right track, and the right melody, it’s about the conviction. It’s not necessarily about being a God-given virtuoso.”
— Meanwhile, of the same track, Paris said, “I, like, cry when I listen to it, it’s so good.”
— It’s pretty well publicized, but one of the reasons Paris was hungry to create her own fame (and profits) is because the Hilton’s don’t typically hand money down to their heirs. The family generally leaves a small sum to family members to help set them up, but give most of their money to charities, intending their bereaved to “work for it.” Paris’ great-grandfather Conrad Hilton left 97% of his estate to his charity, her grandfather, Barron Hilton, did the same.
— Conrad and Barron Hilton (who controlled the company) had strict rules that members of the family weren’t supposed to get special treatment at the hotels. This was routinely blown off by Rick and Kathy Hilton (Paris’ parents) and eventually Paris and Nicky themselves. The staff at the hotels went along with giving them pretty much whatever they want in fear that they would one day run the company.
— The “special treatment” demanded by members of Paris’ family includes things like free babysitting, comped suites (even those that were already reserved for paying customers), and allowing their dogs to go to the bathroom in the suite nonstop — to be cleaned by housekeeping after they left.
— In May 2005 Paris was famously engaged to Paris Latsis, a Greek shipping heir, cemented with a 24 carat engagement ring. The House of Hilton author alleges this engagement was never real, mostly because the Latsis family thought Paris H and the whole Hilton family were trashy, referring to her as “a promiscuous innkeeper’s daughter.”
— You may vaguely remember that Paris had beef with Oil heir Brandon Davis and they got in some fights on TMZ. What they didn’t talk about was the fact that their families have beef going way back. Paris’ aunt, Kim Richards, was married to (and divorced from) Brandon’s uncle, Gregg Davis. Brandon’s mother is also the godmother of Paris’ ex-BFF Nicole Richie.
— Paris’ father, Rick Hilton, is kind of a dud. The book paints him as an easily manipulated loaf who wasn’t respected by his father or grandfather. Supposedly Barron Hilton said of him, “If he can’t control his wife, how can he run my hotels?”
— Paris wasn’t really aware of her own family legacy. She thought Conrad Hilton was a bellboy in a hotel and worked his way up. In truth, he opened a small hotel with his father and was able to buy more and more hotels with the profits.
— Kathy Hilton is said to be remarkably like her mom. She married rich, had kids, and then pushed her kids into the spotlight as soon as she could. She used to say that “Paris is going to be bigger than Princess Di”.
— During all the drama of the OJ Simpson trial, Kathy would have big dinner parties just to discuss the case and would have Marcia Clark and Kato Kaelin over as guests.
— Big Kathy told people Nicole Brown Simpson told her daughter that she was afraid OJ may kill her one day.
Kyle Richards Umansky
— Kyle is the youngest of the Richards girls and wasn’t included in the book much, so I did some separate googling just to sort out what happened between her and Kathy. Mauricio is Kyle’s second husband and they weren’t super well off when they first got married. Mauricio was working at Rick Hilton’s real estate agency and Rick refused to make him a partner. Eventually Mauricio got frustrated and struck out on his own, creating The Agency. He took clients with him and it resulted in bad blood between Rick and Kathy and Mauricio and Kyle (especially because Mauricio is rumored to have informed Rick about his new company via email). That’s why Kyle and Mauricio weren’t invited to Nicky Hilton’s wedding, despite Kyle and Nicky being close at some points.
— There’s additional bad blood because of the TV show Kyle has produced about their mother/childhood.