Bobby Hutchins was a popular child actor who starred in the Our Gang short films from 1927 to 1933. He was known for his nickname of Wheezer, which he earned after running around the studio so much that he began to wheeze. He appeared in 58 films with the franchise, often playing the role of the tag-along little brother. But what happened to him after he left the series? How did he die at the young age of 20? This article will explore the life and death of Bobby Hutchins, one of the original Little Rascals.
Early Life and Career
Bobby Hutchins was born on March 29, 1925, in Tacoma, Washington, to James and Olga Hutchins. He began his acting career at the age of two, when he was discovered by a talent scout while playing in a park. He was signed by Hal Roach Studios and made his debut in the Our Gang short Baby Brother in 1927. He quickly became a regular member of the gang, appearing in both silent and sound films. He was paired with Matthew Beard (Stymie), Dorothy DeBorba, and later George McFarland (Spanky) as the younger group of kids. He was also the on-screen brother of Mary Ann Jackson and June Marlowe (Miss Crabtree).
Bobby Hutchins was a natural performer, who could deliver lines with ease and charm. He was the main character of several films, such as Bouncing Babies, Pups Is Pups, Big Ears, and Dogs Is Dogs.
Leaving the Series and Joining the Army
Bobby Hutchins left the Our Gang series in 1933, after his contract Bobby was replaced by Dickie Moore, who played the new little brother of Spanky. Bobby was only eight years old when he left the series, and he had no other film work after that. He attended public school and graduated from high school in 1943.
Bobby Hutchins trained as a pilot and was assigned to the 3026th Base Unit at Merced Army Air Field in Merced, California. He was preparing for combat in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
The Fatal Crash
On May 17, 1945, Bobby Hutchins’s life came to a tragic end. He was involved in a mid-air collision while trying to land a North American AT-6D-NT Texan, a single-engine trainer aircraft. He collided with another plane of the same model, piloted by Edward F. Hamel, who survived the crash. The accident occurred at 10:15 a.m., near the runway of the Merced Army Air Field.
Bobby Hutchins was killed instantly. He was 20 years old. He was buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California, with full military honors.
Legacy and Rememberance
Bobby Hutchins was one of the most beloved and memorable members of the Our Gang series. He was also one of the many former child stars who met a tragic or untimely death, such as Carl Switzer (Alfalfa), Norman Chaney (Chubby), Scotty Beckett, and Darla Hood. His films are still enjoyed by generations of fans, who remember him as the cute and funny Wheezer.
Bobby Hutchins was a talented and brave young man, who had a promising future ahead of him. He died serving his country, and his sacrifice should not be forgotten. He was a true Little Rascal, who brought joy and laughter to millions of people. He will always be remembered as Wheezer, the tag-along little brother.