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Leslie Hutchinson

Hutch 1930s
Background information
Birth name Leslie Arthur Julien Hutchinson
Also known as "Hutch"
Origin Gouyave, Grenada
Genres Cabaret
Occupations Singer
Instruments Piano
Years active c. 1920-c. 1965

Leslie Arthur Julien Hutchinson, known as "Hutch" (born Gouyave, Grenada, 7 March, 1900 – died London, England, 18 August, 1969) was one of the biggest cabaret stars in the world during the 1920s and 1930s.[1]

Contents

Career

Born in Grenada in 1900 to George Hutchinson and Marianne (née Turnbull)[2], he took piano lessons as a child.[3] He moved to New York City in his teens, originally to take a degree in medicine as he won a place due to his high aptitude, and began playing the piano and singing in bars. He then joined a black band led by Henry "Broadway" Jones, who often played for white millionaires such as the Vanderbilts, attracting the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1924 he left America for Paris, where he had a residency in Joe Zelli's club and became a friend and lover of Cole Porter.[4][5] He was for some time the highest paid star in Britain and was one of the biggest stars during the twenties and thirties in the UK.[3]

"Hutch" was rumoured to have been a bisexual and was alleged to have had relationships with Ivor Novello, Merle Oberon, and actress Tallulah Bankhead.[2] The rumours include affairs with Edwina Mountbatten and members of the British Royal Family which supposedly led to his social ostracism and the destruction of his professional career. [5]

Encouraged by his lover Edwina Mountbatten, he came to England in 1927 to perform in a Rodgers and Hart musical, and soon became the darling of society and the population in general. "Hutch" was a favourite singer of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). He was regularly heard on air with the BBC. One of his greatest hits was "These Foolish Things". He was a much-loved wartime entertainer.

As well as being a friend and lover of Cole Porter, he recorded several of his songs, including "Begin the Beguine" and Porter's list song "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)", to which he supposedly made up some 70 new verses.

He married Ella Byrd in 1923 or 1924 [2]. Their daughter Leslie Bagley Yvonne was born on 9 April 1926. Hutch would go on to sire six further children to five different mothers. Gordon was born in August 1928, Gabrielle in Sept 1930, Gerald and Chris in 1948, and Graham (Chris' full brother) in 1953 and Emma in April 1964.[2].

Leslie Hutchinson suffered from ill-health in his later years and died from pneumonia on 19 August, 1969. Only 42 people attended his funeral.[5]

Filmography

  • Actor:
    • Big Business (1930) .... Pianist
    • Beloved Impostor (1936)
    • Brass Monkey (1948) (aka Lucky Mascot) (as Leslie A. Hutchinson) .... Hutch
    • The Treasure of San Teresa (1959) (aka Hot Money Girl (UK) (USA), aka Long Distance (USA), aka Rhapsodie in Blei (West Germany)) (as Hutch) .... Piano Player at Billie's
  • Soundtrack:
    • Big Business (1930) (performer: "Always Your Humble Slave")
    • Brass Monkey (1948) (aka Lucky Mascot) (performer: "To-Morrow's Rainbow")
  • As self:
    • Cock o' the North (1935)
    • Starlight (1936) TV series
    • Happidrome (1943) (uncredited)

Cultural references

  • Kenneth Williams performed an impersonation of him at Mingaladon RAF station in 1947.
  • On 25 November 2008, Channel 4 TV in the UK showed a documentary on his life called High Society's Favourite Gigolo.[6]

References

External links

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