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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Hutchins

Birthplace: Tacoma, WA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps (1926 - 1942)

Middle Name: E.

Date of Birth: 29 March 1925

Date of Death: 17 May 1945


Years Served:
Robert E. Hutchins

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Robert E. "Wheezer" Hutchins
Aviation Cadet, U.S. Army Air Corps

Robert E. Hutchins was born on 29 March 1925, in Tacoma, WA. He made his film debut at age two. He got the nickname, Wheezer, from his first day with "Our Gang," when he ran around the studio so much he began to wheeze.

Hutchins, a popular member of "The Little Rascals," played Wheezer in 58 "Our Gang" comedy shorts over six years, beginning in 1927. Typically clad in a beanie and ragged corduroy vest, Wheezer was an impish, scene-stealing sprite, often too cunning for his own good. He was at his best as Jackie Cooper's annoying kid brother; Stymie's best pal; or interacting with Pete the Pup.

Hutchins was also a gifted natural actor who could achieve genuine pathos with his emotional scenes, particularly in the classic "Dogs Is Dogs" (1931). His other "Our Gang" appearances include "Playin' Hookey" (1928); "Pups Is Pups" (1930); "Teacher's Pet" (1930); "Helping Grandma" (1931); "Love Business" (1931); "Fly My Kite" (1931); "Free Wheeling" (1932); and "Mush and Milk" (1933).

His movie career was driven by his father, who would not allow him to socialize with the other kids and allegedly abused him in an attempt to prevent the boy from growing out of his role. When he did outgrow the series in 1933, his parents separated and he returned to Tacoma with his mother, leaving show business behind.

After completing high school, Hutchins joined the U.S. Army in August 1943. He enrolled to become an aviation cadet and was stationed at the Army Air Corps Field in Merced, CA. During his final training exercise on 17 May 1945, Hutchins was killed when his B-26 Marauder collided in mid-air with another military aircraft. He was 20.

Remembering Wheezer in 1990, "Our Gang" producer Hal Roach remarked, "That was a kid with great charm, and wide appeal." 

Death and Burial

Robert E. Hutchins died on 17 May 1945 in a plane crash while serving as an Aviation Cadet. He is buried at Parkland Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery in Tacoma, WA.

Honoree ID: 2667   Created by: MHOH




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