HOOT GIBSON Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » hoot gibson


Name: Hoot Gibson                                                                       
Born: 6 August 1892 Tekamah, Nebraska USA                                               
Died: 23 August 1962 Los Angeles, California USA                                       
Hoot Gibson (August 6, 1892 – August 23, 1962) was a rodeo champion and a             
pioneer cowboy film actor, film director and producer.                                 
Born Edmund Richard Gibson in Tekamah, Nebraska, he learned to ride a horse             
while still a very young boy. His family moved to California when he was seven         
years old. As a teenager he worked with horses on a ranch, which led to                 
competition on bucking broncos at area rodeos. Given the nickname "Hoot Owl" by         
co-workers, the name evolved to just "Hoot".                                           
In 1910, film director Francis Boggs was looking for experienced cowboys to             
appear in his silent film short, Pride of the Range. Gibson and another future         
star of Western films, Tom Mix, were hired. Gibson made a second film for Boggs         
in 1911. After the director was killed by a deranged employee, Gibson was hired         
by director Jack Conway to appear in his 1912 Western, His Only Son.                   
Acting for Gibson was then a minor sideline and he continued competing in rodeos       
to make a living. In 1912 he won the all-around championship at the famous             
Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon and the steer roping World Championship         
at the Calgary Stampede.                                                               
Gibson's career was temporarily interrupted with service in the United States           
Army during World War I. When the war ended, he returned to the rodeo business         
and became good friends with Art Acord, a fellow cowboy and movie actor. The two       
participated in summer rodeo then went back to Hollywood for the winter to do           
stunt work. For several years, Gibson had secondary film roles (primarily in           
Westerns) with stars such as Harry Carey. By 1921 the demand for cowboy pictures       
was so great that Gibson began receiving offers for leading roles. Some of these       
offers came from up-and-coming film director John Ford, with whom Gibson               
developed a lasting friendship and working relationship.                               
Hoot Gibson apparently (but unconfirmedly) married Rose August Wenger, a rodeo         
performer he had met at the Pendleton Round-Up in Oregon sometime between 1911         
and 1913. Under the name Helen Gibson, she would become a major film star in her       
own right for a time, notably in the lead role of The Hazards of Helen adventure       
film serial. Census records for 1920 indicate that they were living separately,         
Hoot Gibson listing himself as married, Helen listing herself as widowed.               
Following their separation/divorce, Hoot met a young woman named Helen Johnson,         
whom he did marry in either 1920 or 1922 and with whom he had one child, Lois           
Charlotte Gibson. They divorced in 1930. The fact that Hoot Gibson was married         
to two consecutive women who used the name Helen Gibson in some fashion has led         
to a good deal of confusion.                                                           
From the 1920s through the 1940s, Hoot Gibson was a major film attraction,             
ranking second only to Tom Mix as a western film box office draw. He                   
successfully made the transition to talkies and as a result became a highly paid       
performer. He appeared in his own comic books and was wildly popular until             
singing cowboys such as Gene Autry Roy Rogers displaced him.                           
In 1933, Hoot injured himself when he crashed his plane while racing cowboy star       
Ken Maynard in the National Air Races. Later, the two friends teamed up to make         
a series of low budget movies in the twilight of their careers. After his               
divorce from Helen Johnson Gibson, Hoot had a brief marriage to film actress           
Sally Eilers. That marriage ended in 1933.                                             
Hoot married a final time, to Dorothy Dunstan, on July 3, 1942. His wife would         
survive him.                                                                           
Gibson's years of substantial earnings did not see him through his retirement.         
He had squandered much of his income on high living and poor investments.               
By the 1950s, Gibson faced financial ruin, aided in part by costly medical bills       
from serious health problems. To get by and pay his bills, he earned money as a         
greeter at a Las Vegas casino. For a time, he worked in a carnival and took             
virtually any job his dwindling name value could obtain.                               
Hoot Gibson died of cancer in 1962 in Woodland Hills, California and was               
interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood, California.                       
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Hoot Gibson has a star on         
the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1765 Vine Street. In 1979, he was inducted into           
the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage           
Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.