Will Hutchins

Lanky and likable Will Hutchins was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1930 and went to Pomona College and UCLA while spending two years as an army cryptographer. Out of nowhere, he was discovered by a Warner Bros. TV talent scout and signed without any previous experience. Besides appearing as a guest on many TV westerns such as Maverick (1957) and Cheyenne (1955), he earned his own series, Sugarfoot (1957), in which he played an unlikely western hero. The program ran a respectable four seasons.

In its aftermath, he focused on films, the most important being Merrill’s Marauders (1962), and co-starred in a two-year stage tour of “Never Too Late”. His gawky comedy style was put to the test as well in the ’60s with two short-lived series, Hey, Landlord (1966) and Blondie (1968), in the latter playing Dagwood Bumstead. He also backed up Elvis Presley in three of his mediocre film efforts. Hutchins wed Carol Burnett’s younger sister, Chrissie Burnett; they divorced in later years.

As is often the case with an instant TV star, there is an eventual downswing, and in the late ’60s Will started to flounder badly. In his case, he turned his back on Hollywood and became, of all things, a ringmaster and clown for various circuses. Will has also worked behind the scenes for NBC and still attends conventions on occasion, more recently the 2004 Cincinnati Old Time Radio Convention, where he received the “Stone-Waterman Award”.

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