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Subject: Melvin Dummar, who claimed to be a Howard Hughes heir, dies

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Date Posted: Monday, December 10, 12:04:57pm

A Utah man who repeatedly made headlines around the world in the 1970s has died.

Melvin Dummar was a gas station operator in Box Elder County in 1976 when he suddenly seemed to be on the verge of becoming a multi-millionaire. He was named an heir to the fortune of eccentric and secretive billionaire Howard Hughes.

Dummar's name was contained in a handwritten will discovered in the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City.

The document became known as the "Mormon Will" because someone had mysteriously dropped it on a desk at the church's headquarters. The purported will divided the Hughes estate into 16 equal shares, with one share designated for the church itself and another sixteenth for "Melvin DuMar."

Dummar's story told in the Oscar-winning film "Melvin and Howard" is that years before Hughes died, Dummar found him injured, lying in a remote Nevada desert. Dummar said he drove Hughes to Las Vegas, dropped him off and gave the billionaire a quarter to use a pay phone.

Dummar later acknowledged he was the one who delivered the will to the church. He claimed he got the document from a mysterious stranger who brought it to his gas station. That story was legally discredited when a Las Vegas jury concluded the will was a hoax.

But many people still believe it.

Late in life, Dummar's story was championed by retired FBI agent Gary Magnesen who investigated the case and wrote two books in Dummar's defense. Magnesen confirmed Dummar's death to the Deseret News and said Dummar "absolutely" stuck to his story right to the end.

Dummar was 74 and lived most recently in Pahrump, Nevada.


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Subject of 1980 film, "Melvin and Howard". ...Jason Robards played Howard Hughes, and actor Paul Le Mat was Malvin Dummar.Monday, December 10, 01:45:56pm

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