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If Tom Mix was the silent-era King of the Cowboys, then Hoot Gibson surely was the Clown Prince. An expert rider who joined the circus at 13 while working as a cowpuncher, Hoot was an accomplished rodeo performer who purportedly earned his nickname from his boyhood habit of hunting owls. By 16, he was working in Wild West Shows and in 1912 won the title of World’s All-Around Champion Cowboy at Pendleton. That same year he entered films as an extra and stuntman graduating to John Ford westerns. Hoot was one of Universal’s mainstays throughout the 1920s making the transition to sound without much difficulty. On screen he was the antithesis of the puritan, Hart or the stoic (Harey) Carey, and less flamboyant than Mix. However, off screen, Gibson was a fast-living hard-drinking free spirit, thrice married (to actresses) who lived and loved life to its fullest!