Actress Sally Eilers confirms that she obtained a quickie divorce from Western screen star Hoot Gibson in Mexico on Aug. 28, 1933.
Gibson owned the ex-Baker Ranch Rodeo (future Saugus Speedway) at the time.
They had married at the Saugus ranch in 1930.
6¼x8¼ Associated Press wirephoto showing Eilers on a tennis court, with a newspaper photo editor's crop marks. Extended caption reads:
(Associated Press Photo.)
Hollywood, Cal., Sept. 20  — (AP) — Sally Eilers, screen actress, said today she had been granted a Mexican divorce from Hoot Gibson, film cowboy,
in Chihuahua on Aug. 28. "Neither Hoot nor I wanted any more publicity," said Miss Eilers. "So we just decided on a quiet divorce in Mexico."
The actress and Gibson were married June 29, 1930*. They were separated and reconciled many times.
Gibson has been reported engaged to June Gale, another actress. His marriage to Miss Eilers was his third.
He didn't marry June Gale. His fourth and last wife was Dorothy Dunstan, a 22-year-old yodeler whom he married in 1942. That marriage lasted 20 years, until his death in 1962.
* Other sources give the date as June 28, 1930.
Edmund Richard Gibson earned the nickname "Hoot" when he worked as a messenger for the Owl Drug Co.
He was born August 6, 1892, in Tekamah, Nebraska and appeared in more than 200 films (including short
features) between 1910, when he earned $50 for his role in "The Two Brothers," and
1960, when he made an uncredited appearance in "Ocean's Eleven." Gibson did
most of his work as a silent cowboy actor between World War I and the early 1930s. He directed a bit
in 1920-21 and produced some of his own films from 1923-30. The 5'9" Hollywood giant died of
cancer on August 23, 1962, in Woodland Hills — five days before a wildfire burned down
Gene Autry's Melody Ranch in Placerita Canyon, where Gibson made some of his movies.
In addition to using the Santa Clarita Valley as a backdrop for filming, during the time he was
married to Dorothea Sally Eilers (a popular leading lady in late
silents and early talkies), he owned a ranch in Saugus now known as the Saugus Speedway. SCV historian
Jerry Reynolds writes:
"Roy Baker purchased a 40-acre tract east of Bouquet Junction during 1923, starting construction on
a rodeo arena a year later. Hoot Gibson bought the ranch and stadium in 1930, putting on shows that attracted
such stars as Tom Mix, John Wayne and Clark Gable. In 1934 Gibson sold out to Paul Hill, who ran the
Western Livestock yards and leased it to film companies for three years until a huge flood filled the home
and arena with mud and debris. (Hill) was unable to make payments, and the bank repossessed the property,
which was eventually taken over by a professor of economics at Occidental College, William Bonelli (who
started the Santa Clarita Water Co. and built one of the first local housing tracts in the late 1940s).
Today (the rodeo arena) is known as the Saugus Speedway."
LW3009: 9600 dpi jpeg from original photograph purchased 2017 by Leon Worden.