Hutton Gibson, Extremist and Father of Mel Gibson, Dies at 101


Interviewed by Diane Sawyer of ABC News, the actor was asked to repudiate his father’s statements. He stopped short of doing so, saying: “He’s my father. Gotta leave it alone, Diane. Gotta leave it alone.”

Hutton Peter Gibson (some sources give his name at birth as John Hutton Gibson) was born on Aug. 26, 1918, in Peekskill, N.Y., in Westchester County, to John Gibson, a businessman, and Eva Mylott, an opera singer born in Australia. Hutton grew up in Chicago, and both his parents died before he was out of his teens. A younger brother, Alexis, also died young, leaving Hutton on his own.

He would compensate, after serving in the Marines in World War II, by having a large family — five daughters and six sons — with his wife, Anne (Reilly) Gibson.

Mr. Gibson was a domineering patriarch who raised his children in a morally strict household and in near poverty in Peekskill, Wensley Clarkson wrote in “Mel Gibson: Living Dangerously,” a 1998 biography. Mr. Gibson’s job as a brakeman and later freight conductor for the New York Central Railroad hardly provided for his large brood.

The family’s fortunes changed, initially for the worse, in the 1960s, when Mr. Gibson injured his spine on the job and couldn’t work. But in 1968, appearing on the television game show “Jeopardy!” (then hosted by Art Fleming), he won several thousand dollars in becoming grand champion, money that kept his family afloat. He then won a substantial settlement in a lawsuit he had brought against the railroad over his injury, according to Mr. Clarkson’s book.

Mr. Gibson used the money to move his family to Australia, his mother’s country.

He returned to the United States in his later years, settling first in Texas and then in West Virginia, and remarried after his wife died. That second marriage ended in a bitter divorce. Survivors include Mr. Gibson’s numerous children and dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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