What accent is this, and does it still exist? (Howard Hughes)

Here is a clip of Howard Hughes speaking.

He was from Texas originally, but this doesn’t sound like any Texas accent I’ve ever heard. It does sound kind of like the “Mid-Atlantic”, “Old-Timey Movie” accent, but it’s more nasal. It certainly sounds nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio’s voice in The Aviator, although I still love that movie.

Where, geographically, does this accent best fit in? And is it still around? Or has it faded away? You never hear anyone speak this way anymore.

IDK it reminds me of LBJ though.

Leonardo DiCaprio is a great actor, but to me he did not look or sound much at all like Howard Hughes.

Hughes was involved in the movie business for years. Actors at the time needed to be able to project their voices loudly, both for stage work and for movies due to the practical limitations of microphones in those days. This is a bit of a guess, but Hughes may have picked up a bit of that old style actor projection just from being around those actors. A “normal” voice would have sounded timid and weak compared to strong male acting voices of the time, giving Hughes a great deal of incentive to emulate those stronger voices.

Sounds to me like Hughes managed to be clipped (“old timey movie”) with a drawl at the same time. Throw in a dash of theatrical projection that anyone with a dash of public speaking would have cultivated.

Me, too.

Just a guess, but I think they called it a “Mid Atlantic Accent”. If memory serves, they taught it in boarding schools in that era.

It’s not a mid-Atlantic accent. For one thing, this accent is non-rhotic. FDR and Katharine Hepburn had the mid-Atlantic accent. Hughes didn’t sound like that.

He doesn’t sound much to me like LBJ, either. Johnson had a marked southern accent, with drawn-out vowels.

Hughes’ accent sounds to me like a cross between southern and midwestern. His vowels are not so drawn-out, although he does pronounce a long “i” as “ah.” I’ve met people from places like Kansas who talk like this.

Sounds to me like a Texan who’d spent decades in California.