Barron Hilton Dead at 91

Hotelier and philanthropist Barron Hilton died on Thursday, September 19, 2019, at the age of 91.

Hilton succeeded his father, Conrad Hilton, as chairman, president and CEO of Hilton Hotels Corporation in 1966. During his tenure, he dramatically expanded his domestic hotel empire.

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

He was born in Dallas in 1927 to Hilton Hotels founder, Conrad N. Hilton, and his wife, Mary Adelaide Barron. As a teenager, he parked cars for guests at the Town House in Los Angeles before joining the Navy at age 17.

After serving at Pearl Harbor, he started a successful 20-year career as an entrepreneur before being invited by his father to join Hilton Hotels Corporation as a vice president in 1954. However, he also continued to manage outside business interests, founding Air Finance Corp. and Carte Blanche, a pioneering consumer credit card that was marketed as a service to Hilton’s best customers.

While Barron Hilton headed the company, he generated an average annual rate of return to shareholders of 15 percent with dividends. He became well known for his innovative real estate transactions, including franchising and a bold move into the Las Vegas gaming market.

Hilton, like his father, left 97 percent of his wealth to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. He is preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Marilyn Hawley Hilton. He is survived by his eight children, 15 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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