William Barron Hilton I (born October 23, 1927) is an American heir and hotelier, co-chairman of the Hilton Hotel chain, and the original owner of the San Diego Chargers. He is the paternal grandfather of Paris and Nicky Hilton. A younger brother of the Hilton sisters is also named Barron Hilton.
Barron was active for several years in organizing and managing businesses in Los Angeles, and was also a member of the board of directors of the Statler Hotels Delaware Corporation and of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
On June 20, 1947 he was married at St. Vincent de Paul Church, Chicago, Illinois to Marilyn June Hawley (Los Angeles, California, February 11, 1928 – Los Angeles, California, March 11, 2004), daughter of George Hawley and wife Danielle. Barron and Marilyn were the parents of William Barron Hilton, Jr. (born 1948); Hawley Anne Hilton (born 1949); Stephen Michael Hilton (born 1950); David Alan Hilton (born 1952); Sharon Constance Hilton (born 1953); Rick Hilton (born 1955); Daniel Kevin Hilton (born 1962); and Ronald Jeffrey Hilton (born 1963).
In 1954, he was elected a vice-president of Hilton Hotels Corporation, of which his father was president. The announcement was made on November 16, 1954, by Robert P. Williford, Executive Vice President. Barron also became president of the Carte Blanche credit card firm, was owner of a $6,000,000 orange juice company, head of a business leasing jets and an investor in a Texas oil company.
In 1960, Barron founded the Los Angeles Chargers team of the new American Football League. He moved his team to San Diego for the 1961 season. The team played in the first two American Football League championships, losing both to the Houston Oilers. Barron Hilton assumed the presidency of the Hilton Hotel chain in 1966. In 1970, he was responsible for getting Hilton Hotels into the gambling business.
When Barron's father died in 1979, he left the bulk of his estate to the Roman Catholic Church and charities, and almost nothing to his children. Barron contested the will because of his lifelong career of working to build the hotel company and won his lawsuit in 1988. His half-sister, Francesca, lost her case and received nothing.
In the Forbes 400, which lists the 400 richest Americans, Barron Hilton's worth in 2007 is listed at $2.3 billion.
On December 25, 2007, Hilton announced that he will be diverting approximately 97 percent of his fortune to a charitable trust that will eventually be merged with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.. Jerry Oppenheimer, who profiled the Hilton family in House of Hilton (2006), has said Barron Hilton is embarrassed by his granddaughter Paris' behavior and believes it has sullied the family name. There was no response from her.
Barron Hilton owns a house at Mandeville Island on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta near Stockton, CA. Every year he has put on a large fireworks display which always attracts thousands of boaters.