If you happen to be UK based and at home tonight then watch the documentary ‘High Society’s Favourite Gigolo’, which will take an in depth look at the meteoric rise and fall of Britain’s first black superstar, Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson. 

Up until this point I’d never heard of Leslie Hutchinson.

Hmmmmmmm I wonder why????

Via The London Paper

He was our highest-paid performer, a singer, pianist and actor whose suave good looks guaranteed invites to the top parties – not to mention­ the fact he was a wartime ­entertainer as ­beloved as Vera Lynn. A friend to royalty, he crossed the ­racial divide at a time when the N-word was still openly used.

His decline had as much to do with his colourful sex life as the colour of his skin. You see, bisexual Hutch was a premier­-league shagger. This chap bedded, and occasionally knocked up, Hollywood stars, princesses, debutantes and duchesses who coveted his “exoticism”. Cole Porter, Ivor Novello and, allegedly, a young Princess Margaret were among his  countless lovers.

But sleeping with Edwina, wife of the Queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten, proved a liaison too far. The couple’s shenanigans were humiliatingly exposed when they had to be physically separated­ in hospital in a rare case of the medical phenomenon vaginismus.

Nevertheless, their affair­ continued for 30 years, with Edwina lavishing costly gifts on her lover, including a Cartier-designed diamond-encrusted

With dramatisations and archive footage, this tells the tale of an artist whose achievements have been scandalously erased from the annals. His children speak sadly about a ­father who coveted fame more than family, while old friends toast a performer who never got the respect he deserved for busting through Britain’s bigoted inter-war class system – while having as much fun as possible.

Tonight (November 25th) – ‘High Society’s Favourite Gigolo’ Channel 4, 9pm

17 replies »

  1. That was both interesting and sad.

    He was a very talented individual but a long the way, he clearly forgot who/what he was and where he came from, and was brought back down to earth with an almighty bump.

  2. Ditto Janice & Ty.

    So talented but a very sad and lost indvidual. Highlighted by how his children talked about him.

    Not one picture of the long suffering wife,… awful and sad.

  3. The way he treated his first wife and children was absolutely appalling!

    Plus looking down on the black folk who later migrated to these shores.

    I think he actually forgot he was black.

    I hate to speak ill of the dead but he came across as being a talented nasty piece of work!

  4. i watched it and it was a real sad sight to see the plight of the man. I dont think he was no worse than some our own grandparents you know, who were young and ambitious and swayed by the western wince/smile of fame and fortune. Im glad i didnt miss it was so sad.

  5. I have to say I had no liking for his character. Very lost and chose his way of life thinking it would be the making of him when in fact he was quite pathetic! Feel it for his kids.

  6. He left Grenada, went to the US and then settled in Harlem where he worked on perfecting his musical skills. Then an encounter with the KKK in Florida scared the living daylights out of him and he moved on to Paris, became a star, then moved on to the UK and became a hit within the warped high society circles…

    Then died penniless/forgotten.

    The funny thing is perhaps if he had gone back to America after his stint in France, things might have turned out differently for him. He might be remembered now and listed amongst the musical greats.

  7. What he was doing at the time was unprecedented. its easy to say “Well you should have been more careful” with 100 years of celebrity rise and fall experience to draw from. But i have got to take my hat of to the guy. OK he was not a good father and husband (he wasn’t the first and wont be the last!!) but he was an awesome entertainer and musician and excelled at it because of his unfixing devotion and promotion of it.

    And to say “He clearly forgot who/what he was and where he came from”

    If he had that narrow view then he would have got any were back then and we wouldn’t be talking about this now at all.

    the only form of networking available to him was through his fraternisation with the women (and Men) in power to get him into the places he need to be (he wasn’t the first and he wont be the last)

    I say bravo to him, in hindsight yes he could have gone back to America and they may have been more kind to the history books there regarding him. but he was a pioneer setting the road for other black people to come into the UK which was predominantly white at the time and enter the entertainment business.

    lets stop focusing on the negative because at the end of the day every one has done at least one dark thing in there life and focus on the positive that this guy was a phenomenon with the balls to say to anyone “Up yours and I’m F-ing your wife” in a 1930 cabaret swing rhyming – singing fashion 🙂 .

    (i did crease up laughing though when lord mountbatten said – “Hes got a dick like a tree truck and his f-ing my wife with it” that was so funny.

    Hutch you are the man and respect to you!

  8. “lets stop focusing on the negative because at the end of the day every one has done at least one dark thing in there life and focus on the positive that this guy was a phenomenon ” – @ MICHAEL……l….

    Talk about play it down, like it was no big deal….the negative ‘ONLY’ being ….

    1. That Hutch was ashamed of his black skin, and others who looked like him. The constant reminders /REALITY CHECKS that brought him back down to earth with a bang, when he was called a n–ger, because he thought he was one of them but in reality he was just moving in their circles desperate to be like them. Talking the talk,…. he did that well didn’t he. He couldn’t handle their treatment of him because he was lost.

    2. That Hutch treated his black wife like a piece of shit under his shoe.
    Why the hell he stayed with her and treated her like this is beyond me.

    3. That Hutch unashamedly fathered unwanted children, treating them like strangers, with little or no interaction. The ones he did acknowledge, the way they talked of him was too sad.

    4. That Hutch shamelessly fu-cked his way through the so called high society socialites. Craving acceptance to be like them or ” to get him into the places he needed to be” – as you put it. In the 1930’s, whooop wooo, what an achievement, ( rolling eyes )… to sleep around with all these women and MEN. Bravo, bravo.

    You know I could go on, but theres no point. I don’t care how talented he was and what barriers he broke down, I’d rather this part of history was kept quiet. Perhaps it was more than just a colour thing why he didn’t get the rewards for his achievement. HE WAS HARDLY A ROLE MODEL WAS HE !!! His was totally up himself and he thought he was better than other black people. His hatred of them was a hatred of himself. He wanted to be a cr-ker so bad, he forgot who he was. Where’s the celebration in that.

    I think it’s hard not to focus on the negative, IN A BIG WAY, because IN MY OPINION, the negativity outweighed his achievements. His character was not likeable at all. He was not a role model, so other than his talent what is there to celebrate. Respect to who !!! oh please, the man was ROTTEN AND LOST.

    Perhaps if he stayed in the US he would not have loathed his skin colour so much. He would have performed in places and mixed with people where they celebrated their culture and heritage . Perhaps , who knows !!!

  9. if there is anyone who knows how i can get my hands on a copy of this television show, please email me at i just recently found out that this man was a relative, and i am very interested in seeing the show. thanks.

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November 2008
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