Born in Gouyave, Grenada, in 1900 to George Hutchinson and Marianne (née Turnbull), Hutch took piano lessons as a child.
Hutch moved to New York City in his teens, originally to take a degree in medicine as he had won a place due to his high aptitude, and began playing the piano and singing in bars.
In New York City, Hutch joined a black band led by Henry "Broadway" Jones, who often played for white millionaires such as the Vanderbilts, attracting the wrath of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1924 Hutch left America for Paris, where he had a residency in Joe Zelli's club and became a friend and lover of Cole Porter.
In spite of his popularity, Hutch could not escape racial prejudice:
He bought a Rolls-Royce, a grand house in Hampstead, patronised London's best tailors, spoke five or six languages and was on friendly terms with the Prince of Wales. But he was still a black man in an era of racial discrimination. When he entertained at lavish Mayfair parties, his fee was large, but he was often obliged to go in by the servants' entrance. This embittered him.
Hutch was "one of the first stars in Britain" to volunteer to entertain the troops at home and abroad during World War II, but he received no formal recognition for his service, and his name would never appear in any Honours list.
He married Ella Byrd, a woman of African, English, and Chinese ancestry, in 1923 or 1924 in New York City. Their daughter, Lesley Bagley Yvonne, was born on 9 April 1926. He fathered seven further children with six different mothers. Gordon was born in August 1928, Gabrielle in September 1930, Jennifer in October 1939, Gerald and Chris in 1948, and Graham (Chris's full brother) in 1953, and Emma in April 1965.
In 1930, one of Hutch's mistresses, British debutante Elizabeth Corbett, was discovered to be pregnant with his child. Her family tried to hush-up the affair, hastily marrying Corbett off to an army officer, and attempting to pass off the child as his. When the child was born, however, and discovered to be biracial, Corbett's husband refused to claim the child as his own. The infant was put up for adoption and Corbett's outraged father sued Hutch.
In the mid-1930s, Hutch is rumoured to have had a lengthy affair with Edwina Mountbatten. The rumour scandalized the British upper classes, becoming the subject of tabloid fodder, and an embarrassment to Lady Mountbatten's royal in-laws. The Mountbattens sued the tabloids for libel. As a result of the scandal, Hutch was shunned by many of his former patrons.
After 'The People' case, Buckingham Palace refused to have him on any Royal Command Performance bill, and Lord Beaverbrook gave orders that Hutch's name was never to be mentioned again by any of his papers.
Another of his reported mistresses was actress Tallulah Bankhead - an openly bisexual Golden Age Hollywood actress.
^For several years in the mid-1920s Hutchinson lived with Zena Naylor, the illegitimate daughter of art dealer and historian Robert Langton Douglas; later a literary editor, she was briefly a lover of composer Vernon Duke, artist Ralph Barton, and British artist Tony Butts: D. J. Taylor, Bright Young Things: The Lost Generation of London's Jazz Age (Macmillan, 2010), p. 130; Vernon Duke, Passport to Paris (Little Brown, 1955), p. 163; Carl Van Vechten and Bruce Kellner, The Splendid Drunken Twenties (University of Illinois Press, 2003), p. 137; and Nathalie Blondel, The Journals of Mary Butts (Yale University Press, 2002), p. 24.
^Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 34. ISBN1-84854-195-3.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)