Hal Roach

Producer, Screenwriter, Director
A director and film producer who was at the forefront of early Hollywood, Hal Roach became one of the most powerful filmmakers of the silent era before making the successful transition to sound features and later ... Read more »
Born: 01/14/1892 in Elmira, New York, USA

Filmography

Producer (46)

Laurel and Hardy Laughtoons 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Producer

Elfego Baca 1956 - 1957 (TV Show)

Producer

Flying With Music 1941 (Movie)

(Producer)

Tanks a Million 1940 (Movie)

(Producer)

Captain Fury 1938 (Movie)

(Producer)

Topper Takes a Trip 1938 (Movie)

(Producer)

There Goes My Heart 1937 (Movie)

(Producer)

Topper 1936 (Movie)

(Producer)

Way Out West 1936 (Movie)

(Producer)

General Spanky 1935 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Music Box 1931 (Movie)

(Producer)

Pass the Gravy 1927 (Movie)

(Producer)

Safety Last 1923 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Chump at Oxford (Movie)

(Associate Producer)

About Face (Movie)

(Producer)

Babes in Toyland (Movie)

(Producer)

Brats (TV Show)

Producer

Broadway Limited (Movie)

(Producer)

Brooklyn Orchid (Movie)

(Producer)

Busy Bodies (TV Show)

Producer

Crazy House (Movie)

(Producer)

Election Day (Movie)

(Producer)

Habeas Corpus (Movie)

(Producer)

Hook and Ladder (Movie)

(Producer)

Kelly the Second (Movie)

(Producer)

Mama Loves Papa (Movie)

(Producer)

Nomads of the North (Movie)

(Producer)

Pack up Your Troubles (Movie)

(Producer)

Pardon Us (Movie)

(Producer)

Pick a Star (Movie)

(Producer)

Rainbow Island (Movie)

(Producer)

Saps at Sea (Movie)

(Producer)

She Loves Me Not (Movie)

(Producer)

Spanky (Movie)

(Producer)

Swiss Miss (Movie)

(Producer)

Take a Chance (Movie)

(Producer)

The Big Idea (TV Show)

Producer

The Bohemian Girl (Movie)

(Producer)

The Buccaneers (Movie)

(Producer)

The Devil Horse (Movie)

(Producer)

The Devil with Hitler (Movie)

(Producer)

The Devil's Brother (Movie)

(Producer)

The Housekeeper's Daughter (Movie)

(Producer)

The Midnight Patrol (Movie)

(Producer)

Topper Returns (Movie)

(Producer)

Zenobia (Movie)

(Producer)
Director (6)

Captain Fury 1938 (Movie)

(Director)

Billy Blazes, Esq. 1919 (Movie)

(Director)

Swiss Miss (Movie)

(Director)

The Devil's Brother (Movie)

(Director)

The Housekeeper's Daughter (Movie)

(Director)

The Rogue Song (Movie)

(Director)
Writer (6)

Safety Last 1923 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Safety Last 1923 (Movie)

(From Story)

Hook and Ladder (Movie)

(Screen Story)

Spanky (Movie)

(Screen Story)

The Buccaneers (Movie)

(Screen Story)

The Devil Horse (Movie)

(Screen Story)
Actor (5)

Stan Laurel: The Last Laugh 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Mark Russell's Irish Fling 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey 1985 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Pardon Us (Movie)

Prisoners Marching in Formation Near Hardy (Actor)

Biography

A director and film producer who was at the forefront of early Hollywood, Hal Roach became one of the most powerful filmmakers of the silent era before making the successful transition to sound features and later television. He was also responsible for launching several prominent careers, most notably Harold Lloyd and the comic duo Laurel and Hardy, while also introducing the world to "Our Gang," later known as "The Little Rascals." Under the auspices of his Hal Roach Studios, Roach competed with fellow producer Mack Sennett with comedy shorts that focused on narrative and characterization as opposed to Sennett's reliance on stereotypes and crude slapstick. With the success of Lloyd's "Lonesome Luke" series, Roach made the successful transition to features with some of the comic's most acclaimed films, including "A Sailor-Made Man" (1921), "Grandma's Boy" (1922) and "Safety Last" (1923). Meanwhile, Roach paired comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy together, creating one of the most famous comedy duos in Hollywood history and churning out some 100 films with the pair like "Sons of the Desert" (1933), "Babes in Toyland" (1934) and "Way Out West" (1937). In the late 1930s, Roach made the surprising turn from comedy to drama, most notably releasing "Of Mice and Men" (1939), which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Following service in World War II, he again adapted to the times and entered the nascent television business, only to hand the reigns of his studio to son Hal Roach, Jr. But the boy made bad business decisions that nearly cost Roach his entire fortune and eventually put the studio on the chopping block. Nonetheless, Roach remained one of the most influential producers who played a significant part in shaping modern Hollywood.

Relationships

Frances Hilton

Companion
widow of hotel tycoon Conrad Hilton

Margaret Nichols

Wife
born in 1900 died in March 1941

Margaret Roach

Daughter
born in March 1921 died in 1964 married to Robert Livingston

Hal Roach

Son
born in 1918 in Los Angeles died in 1972

Milestones

1985

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the documentary, "George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey"

1960

Lost much of his fortune when his son made a deal with stock trader Alexander Guterma, whose business empire then collapsed

1948

Formed the Hal Roach Television Corporation

1939

Made most famous dramatic feature, "Of Mice and Men", directed by Lewis Milestone

1927

Most notable career achievement: teaming two comedians under contract to his studio--Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

1921

Began the famous "Our Gang" series (later sometimes known as "The Little Rascals") of comedy shorts about a prankish group of children

1919

Bought his own studio with the profits from Lloyd's popular "Lonesome Luke" series of shorts

1914

Formed the Rolin Company with Lloyd with backing they received from Pathe Pictures

Hired by Universal Studios in Hollywood as a stuntman-extra for $5 a day; became acquainted with another unknown, Harold Lloyd

Left home in Elmira, New York, to work as a truck driver in Seattle and a mule skinner and gold prospector in Alaska

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