Hal Roach


Producer
Hal Roach

About

Also Known As
Harold Eugene Roach
Birth Place
Elmira, New York, USA
Born
January 14, 1892
Died
November 02, 1992
Cause of Death
Cardiac Arrest Complicated By Pneumonia

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 "O...

Photos & Videos

General Spanky - Publicity Stills
Way Out West - Movie Poster
Turnabout - Publicity Stills

Family & Companions

Margaret Nichols
Wife
Actor. Born in 1900; died in March 1941.
Frances Hilton
Companion
Widow of hotel tycoon Conrad Hilton.

Bibliography

"The Films of Hal Roach"
William K Everson, Museum of Modern Art

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.

Born on Jan. 14, 1892 in Elmira, NY, Roach was a rather poor student and left his hometown at 17, while working as a blacksmith's assistant. He went on to a number of adventurous odd jobs like driving a truck in Seattle, and working as a mule skinner and gold prospector in Alaska. He landed in Hollywood in 1912, where he worked at Universal Studios as a stuntman and an extra for $5 a day. It was at Universal that he met up-and-coming comic performer, Harold Lloyd, with whom he formed the Rolin Company in 1914. With backing from distributor Pathé Pictures, Roach commenced production on a series of comic shorts starring Lloyd as Willie Work, a pale imitation of Charlie Chaplin's more popular Little Champ character. Quickly ditching Willie, Roach and Lloyd developed the more unique Lonesome Luke, who was featured in a number of shorts including "Lonesome Luke, Social Gangster" (1915), "Luke, the Gladiator" (1916) and "Lonesome Luke's Wild Women" (1917). Many of the Lonesome Luke shorts were directed and produced by Roach, and were successful despite continued calls from critics that Lloyd was still nothing more than an impersonator.

In 1918, Roach and Lloyd abandoned Lonesome Luke in favor of Lloyd's famed Glasses Character, or The Boy, which became one of the most famous comic creations of the silent era. With the profits he made from the Lonesome Luke series, Roach - unable to overcome zoning laws to expand his old studio - built Hal Roach Studios in Culver City in 1919, where he continued to turn out successful comedies, distinguishing himself from his main competitor, Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios, by making a product that emphasized character and narrative structure over crude sight gags. In 1921, Roach inaugurated the "Our Gang" series of comedy shorts that featured the adventures of a group of poor neighborhood kids, which remained popular over the next two decades and lived on in syndicated television as "The Little Rascals" decades later. While Lloyd remained his main breadwinner, Roach also had the likes of Harry Langdon, Will Rogers, Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts and Patsy Kelly in his stable. Meanwhile, Roach had Lloyd make the transition to features, which included notable productions like "A Sailor-Made Man" (1921), "Grandma's Boy" (1922) and "Safety Last" (1923), which famously saw Lloyd dangling ten-stories up from the hands of a broken clock.

In 1923, Lloyd left Roach's studio to branch out on his own, leaving the producer without his top moneymaker. But Roach made what could have been the best decision of his life when he paired wiry Brit Stan Laurel with overweight American Oliver Hardy to form Laurel and Hardy, one of the most popular and successful comic pairs in cinema history. Following their first film "Putting Pants on Philip" (1927), the pair went on to appear in over 100 films for Roach, including "From Soup to Nuts" (1928), "Sons of the Desert" (1933), "The Music Box" (1932), "Babes in Toyland" (1934) and "Way Out West" (1937). The pair split from Roach in 1940 in search of greater artistic freedom, once again leaving the producer without his highest-grossing talent. Meanwhile, in 1927, Roach ended his relationship with Pathé and began distributing his pictures through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which proved advantageous, since MGM began taking away exhibiters from his old distributor. The result was the diminished power of Sennett, who remained with Pathé and saw the number of his films being shown diminish. A year after making the switch to MGM, Roach equipped his studio for making sound pictures and began releasing talkie shorts in 1929. He graduated to features two years later and all but phased out shorts - save for "Our Gang" - by 1936. Two years after that, he sold Spankie, Alfalfa and the rest of "Our Gang" to MGM.

Turning away from comedy, Roach began producing glossy dramas and delivered his most serious effort in the genre with an acclaimed adaptation of "Of Mice and Men" (1939), starring Burgess Meredith, Betty Field and Lon Chaney, Jr. Hailed by critics, the film earned four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. By this time, Roach had a very different stable of actors, including Mickey Rooney, Charlie Chase and ZaSu Pitts, as well as directors George Stevens, Norman Z. McLeod and Leo McCarey. Although Roach became increasingly involved with the administration of his organization, he continued to enjoy occasional stints as a director, while also partnering with his son, Hal Roach Jr., in the 1930s. After his wife, Marguerite, died in 1941, Roach was called into active service in the military and helped by making featurettes, training films and propaganda pieces for the First Motion Picture Unit of the U.S. Army, which included actors Ronald Reagan, Alan Ladd, Jimmy Stewart and Clark Gable. Following the war, he was one of the first Hollywood producers to make all his films in color, but saw his studio hitting hard financial times, which necessitated a move to television in the late 1940s.

Formed in 1948, the Hal Roach Television Corporation, enjoyed intermittent success with "The Stu Erwin Show" (ABC, 1950-55), "Racket Squad" (syndicated/CBS, 1950-53), "The Public Defender" (CBS, 1954-55) and "Steve Donovan, Western Marshal" (syndicated, 1955-56), among others. But in the late 1950s, Roach decided to sell his interests to his son and left production altogether. His son, however, failed to maintain the business properly and lost much of his father's fortune, leading to the studios shutting down for good in 1961. Throughout the years, he worked occasionally as a consultant on various projects while largely remaining semi-retired. In 1964, his daughter Margaret Roach died, while son Hal, Jr. passed in 1972, leaving Roach to outlive both his children and his first wife by decades. In 1984, he received an Honorary Oscar from the Academy, and the following year Roach appeared as one of the interviewees in the documentary, "George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey" (1985). Living to the age of 100, Roach finally passed on Nov. 2, 1992 from pneumonia, just shy of his 101st birthday.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Road Show (1941)
Director
One Million B.C. (1940)
Director
Turnabout (1940)
Director
The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939)
Director
Captain Fury (1939)
Director
Swiss Miss (1938)
Fill-In Director
The Bohemian Girl (1936)
Director
The Devil's Brother (1933)
Director
Monsieur Le Fox (1930)
Dirigida por [Dir]
Men of the North (1930)
Director
Monsieur la Volpe (1930)
Direttore [Dir]
The White Sheep (1924)
Director
Now or Never (1921)
Director
I Do (1921)
Director
High and Dizzy (1920)
Director
An Eastern Westerner (1920)
Director
Number, Please? (1920)
Director
Get Out and Get Under (1920)
Director
Haunted Spooks (1920)
Director
Bumping Into Broadway (1919)
Director
On the Fire (1919)
Director
Look Out Below (1919)
Director
Billy Blazes, Esq. (1919)
Director
Ask Father (1919)
Director
Hoot Mon (1919)
Director
Lonesome Luke, Lawyer (1917)
Director
Luke Wins Ye Ladye Faire (1917)
Director
Lonesome Luke, Plumber (1917)
Director
Lonesome Luke on Tin Can Alley (1917)
Director
Lonesome Luke's Lively Life (1917)
Director
Luke's Trolley Troubles (1917)
Director
Luke, the Candy Cut-Up (1916)
Director
Luke and the Bang-Tails (1916)
Director
Luke Rides Roughshod (1916)
Director
Luke's Shattered Sleep (1916)
Director
Luke and the Mermaids (1916)
Director
Luke and the Bomb Throwers (1916)
Director
Luke's Preparedness Preparations (1916)
Director
Luke's Fatal Flivver (1916)
Director
Luke, the Chauffeur (1916)
Director
Luke's Washful Waiting (1916)
Director
Luke Joins the Navy (1916)
Director
Luke, Patient Provider (1916)
Director
Luke Pipes the Pippins (1916)
Director
Lonesome Luke Lolls in Luxury (1916)
Director
Lonesome Luke, Circus King (1916)
Director
Luke Laughs Last (1916)
Director
Luke, Crystal Gazer (1916)
Director
Luke, Rank Impersonator (1916)
Director
Luke's Late Lunchers (1916)
Director
Luke's Double (1916)
Director
Luke and the Rural Roughnecks (1916)
Director
Luke's Speedy Club Life (1916)
Director
Luke's Movie Muddle (1916)
Director
Luke's Fireworks Fizzle (1916)
Director
Luke's Society Mixup (1916)
Director
Luke, the Gladiator (1916)
Director
Luke Does the Midway (1916)
Director
Luke Foils the Villain (1916)
Director
Luke's Lost Lamb (1916)
Director
Luke's Newsie Knockout (1916)
Director
Ragtime Snap Shots (1915)
Director
Peculiar Patients' Pranks (1915)
Director
Tinkering with Trouble (1915)
Director
Ruses, Rhymes and Roughnecks (1915)
Director
Bughouse Bellhops (1915)
Director
Giving Them Fits (1915)
Director
Terribly Stuck Up (1915)
Director
Fresh from the Farm (1915)
Director
Lonesome Luke, Social Gangster (1915)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1989)

Writer (Feature Film)

The Bohemian Girl (1936)
Writer
The Devil Horse (1926)
Story
Black Cyclone (1925)
Story
The Battling Orioles (1924)
Story
The White Sheep (1924)
Story
The King of Wild Horses (1924)
Story
Safety Last! (1923)
Story
Doctor Jack (1922)
Story
Grandma's Boy (1922)
Story
A Sailor-Made Man (1921)
Story
I Do (1921)
Writer
Among Those Present (1921)
Writer
Billy Blazes, Esq. (1919)
Writer (Uncredited)

Producer (Feature Film)

One Million Years B. C. (1967)
Associate Producer
The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy (1967)
Producer
Who Killed Doc Robbin (1948)
Presented By
Here Comes Trouble (1948)
Presented By
Curley (1947)
Presented By
The Fabulous Joe (1947)
Presented By
Calaboose (1943)
Presented By
Prairie Chickens (1943)
Presented By
Yanks Ahoy (1943)
Presented By
Taxi, Mister (1943)
Producer
The McGuerins from Brooklyn (1942)
Presented By
Brooklyn Orchid (1942)
Presented By
About Face (1942)
Presented By
Dudes Are Pretty People (1942)
Presented By
Hay Foot (1942)
Presented By
The Devil with Hitler (1942)
Presented By
Flying with Music (1942)
Presented By
Miss Polly (1941)
Presented By
Tanks a Million (1941)
Presented By
Niagara Falls (1941)
Presented By
Topper Returns (1941)
Presented By
Road Show (1941)
Presented By
Fiesta (1941)
Presented By
All-American Co-Ed (1941)
Presented By
Broadway Limited (1941)
Presented By
A Chump at Oxford (1940)
Presented By
Captain Caution (1940)
Presented By
Turnabout (1940)
Producer
One Million B.C. (1940)
Presented By
Saps at Sea (1940)
Presented By
The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939)
Presented By
Captain Fury (1939)
Presented By
Of Mice and Men (1939)
Presented By
The Housekeeper's Daughter (1939)
Producer
There Goes My Heart (1938)
Presented By
Swiss Miss (1938)
Presented By
Block-Heads (1938)
Presented By
Topper (1937)
Presented By
Way Out West (1937)
Presented By
Nobody's Baby (1937)
Presented By
Pick a Star (1937)
Presented By
General Spanky (1936)
Presented By
The Bohemian Girl (1936)
Presented By
Bonnie Scotland (1935)
Presented By
Vagabond Lady (1935)
Presented By
Babes in Toyland (1934)
Presented By
Sons of the Desert (1933)
Presented By
The Devil's Brother (1933)
Producer
Sons of the Desert (1933)
Producer
Pack Up Your Troubles (1932)
Presented By
El alma de la fiesta (1931)
Producer
Monerías (1931)
Producer
De bote en bote (1931)
Producer
Una cana al aire (1930)
Presenta a [Pres]
Locuras de amor (1930)
Producer
El príncipe del dólar (1930)
Producer
Pass the Gravy (1928)
Producer
No Man's Law (1927)
Presented By
Dog Shy (1926)
Producer
Tell' em Nothing (1926)
Producer
Mums the Word (1926)
Producer
Black Cyclone (1925)
Presented By
Isn't Life Terrible (1925)
Producer
The King of Wild Horses (1924)
Producer
The Battling Orioles (1924)
Presented By
Why Worry? (1923)
Presented By
Safety Last! (1923)
Presented By
The Call of the Wild (1923)
Presented By
Doctor Jack (1922)
Producer
Grandma's Boy (1922)
Presented By
A Sailor-Made Man (1921)
Presented By
Among Those Present (1921)
Producer
I Do (1921)
Producer
Haunted Spooks (1920)
Producer
High and Dizzy (1920)
Executive Producer
Get Out and Get Under (1920)
Producer
An Eastern Westerner (1920)
Producer
Number, Please? (1920)
Producer
Ask Father (1919)
Producer
From Hand to Mouth (1919)
Producer
Billy Blazes, Esq. (1919)
Producer

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

4 Clowns (1970)
Coöp

Production Companies (Feature Film)

The Crazy World of Laurel and Hardy (1967)
Company

Cast (Special)

Stan Laurel: The Last Laugh (1994)
Mark Russell's Irish Fling (1993)
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)
Himself

Producer (Special)

Elfego Baca (1956)
Producer

Misc. Crew (Special)

George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)
Other

Director (Short)

Arabian Tights (1933)
Director
The Pajama Party (1931)
Director
On the Loose (1931)
Director
Let's Do Things (1931)
Director
His Royal Slyness (1920)
Director
A Jazzed Honeymoon (1919)
Director
Pay Your Dues (1919)
Director
Young Mr. Jazz (1919)
Director
A Sammy in Siberia (1919)
Director
Spring Fever (1919)
Director
Captain Kidd's Kids (1919)
Director
Lonesome Luke, Messenger (1917)
Director
Luke Locates the Loot (1916)
Director

Cast (Short)

Little Sinner (1935)
Narrator
Bum Voyage (1934)
The Rap (1931)
Spring Fever (1919)

Writer (Short)

Mike Fright (1934)
Writer (Uncredited)
Free Wheeling (1932)
Writer
Hook and Ladder (1932)
Writer (Uncredited)
On the Loose (1931)
From Story
Chickens Come Home- (1931)
Writer (Uncredited)
Boxing Gloves (1929)
Writer (Uncredited)
Perfect Day (1929)
Writer
Olympic Games (1927)
From Story
Love My Dog (1927)
From Story
Do Detectives Think? (1927)
Writer
Shivering Spooks (1926)
Writer
Forty-Five Minutes From Hollywood (1926)
Writer
Long Pants (1926)
Writer
Buried Treasure (1926)
Story By
The Fourth Alarm! (1926)
Writer
Monkey Business (1926)
From Story
Good Cheer (1926)
Story By
Thundering Fleas (1926)
Writer
One Wild Ride (1925)
From Story
Official Officers (1925)
Story By
Boys Will Be Joys (1925)
Story By
Shootin' Injuns (1925)
Writer
Mary, Queen of Tots (1925)
From Story
High Society (1924)
Writer
Just a Good Guy (1924)
Writer
Seein' Things (1924)
Writer
The Mysterious Mystery! (1924)
Writer
The Sun Down Limited (1924)
Story By
The Buccaneers (1924)
Story By
Every Man For Himself (1924)
Story By
Big Business (1924)
From Story
Fast Company (1924)
From Story
It's A Bear (1924)
Story By
July Days (1923)
From Story
A Pleasant Journey (1923)
Story By
The Champeen (1923)
Story By
The Cobbler (1923)
From Story
No Noise (1923)
Story By
Our Gang (1922)
From Story
Fire Fighters (1922)
Story By
Saturday Morning (1922)
Writer

Producer (Short)

Rushin' Ballet (1937)
Producer
Our Gang Follies of 1938 (1937)
Producer
Hearts are Thumps (1937)
Producer
Pan Handlers (1936)
Producer
Bored of Education (1936)
Producer
An All American Toothache (1936)
Producer
Vamp Till Ready (1936)
Producer
Two Too Young (1936)
Producer
Life Hesitates at 40 (1936)
Producer
At Sea Ashore (1936)
Producer
Hill-Tillies (1936)
Producer
The Count Takes the Count (1936)
Producer
Poker at Eight (1935)
Producer
The Misses Stooge (1935)
Producer
Public Ghost # 1 (1935)
Producer
Top Flat (1935)
Producer
Nurse to You! (1935)
Producer
Okay Toots! (1935)
Producer
Hot Money (1935)
Producer
Twin Triplets (1935)
Producer
The Four Star Boarder (1935)
Producer
Mama's Little Pirate (1935)
Producer
Thicker Than Water (1935)
Producer
Manhattan Monkey Business (1935)
Producer
The Tin Man (1935)
Producer
Treasure Blues (1935)
Producer
Slightly Static (1935)
Producer
Sing Sister Sing (1935)
Producer
Southern Exposure (1935)
Producer
The Fixer Uppers (1935)
Producer
You Bring the Ducks (1934)
Producer
Maid in Hollywood (1934)
Producer
I'll Be Suing You (1934)
Producer
Music in Your Hair (1934)
Producer
Something Simple (1934)
Producer
Another Wild Idea (1934)
Producer
Soup and Fish (1934)
Producer
The First Round-Up (1934)
Producer
Nosed Out (1934)
Producer
You Said a Hatful! (1934)
Producer
Oliver the Eighth (1934)
Producer
Mike Fright (1934)
Producer
Fate's Fathead (1934)
Producer
The Live Ghost (1934)
Producer
CHASES OF PIMPLE STREET (1934)
Producer
Roamin' Vandals (1934)
Producer
Three Chumps Ahead (1934)
Producer
The Ballad of Paducah Jail (1934)
Producer
I'll Take Vanilla (1934)
Producer
Fish Hooky (1934)
Producer
The Cracked Iceman (1934)
Producer
Benny, from Panama (1934)
Producer
Mixed Nuts (1934)
Producer
Duke for a Day (1934)
Producer
Speaking of Relations (1934)
Producer
Babes in the Goods (1934)
Producer
Opened by Mistake (1934)
Producer
Apples To You! (1934)
Producer
Four Parts (1934)
Producer
One-Horse Farmers (1934)
Producer
Done in Oil (1934)
Producer
His Silent Racket (1933)
Producer
Air Fright (1933)
Producer
Nature in the Wrong (1933)
Producer
Busy Bodies (1933)
Producer (Uncredited)
The Rummy (1933)
Producer
Arabian Tights (1933)
Producer
Beauty and the Bus (1933)
Producer
Fallen Arches (1933)
Producer
Call Her Sausage (1933)
Producer
Keg O' My Heart (1933)
Producer
Wreckety Wrecks (1933)
Producer
Mush and Milk (1933)
Producer
Backs to Nature (1933)
Producer
Luncheon at Twelve (1933)
Producer
Maids a la Mode (1933)
Producer
Thundering Taxis (1933)
Producer
Rhapsody In Brew (1933)
Producer
The Bargain of the Century (1933)
Producer
Taxi Barons (1933)
Producer
Forgotten Babies (1933)
Producer
One Track MInds (1933)
Producer
Twice Two (1933)
Producer
Asleep in the Feet (1933)
Producer
The Midnight Patrol (1933)
Producer (Uncredited)
Midsummer Mush (1933)
Producer
Bring 'Em Back a Wife (1933)
Producer
Sherman Said It (1933)
Producer
You're Telling Me (1932)
Producer
Girl Grief (1932)
Producer
Sealskins (1932)
Producer
Too Many Women (1932)
Producer
Red Noses (1932)
Producer
Free Wheeling (1932)
Producer
First in War (1932)
Producer
The Soilers (1932)
Producer
Show Business (1932)
Producer
Young Ironsides (1932)
Producer
Strictly Unreliable (1932)
Producer
Strange Innertube (1932)
Producer
Love Pains (1932)
Producer
Birthday Blues (1932)
Producer
Free Eats (1932)
Producer
Any Old Port! (1932)
Producer
Sneak Easily (1932)
Producer
Wild Babies (1932)
Producer
Taxi for Two (1932)
Producer
The Old Bull (1932)
Producer
The Tabasco Kid (1932)
Producer
Hook and Ladder (1932)
Producer
Now We'll Tell One (1932)
Producer
In Walked Charley (1932)
Producer
The Nickel Nurser (1932)
Producer
Mr. Bride (1932)
Producer
The Knockout (1932)
Producer
What Price Taxi (1932)
Producer
Hot Spot (1932)
Producer
Alum and Eve (1932)
Producer
The Music Box (1932)
Producer (Uncredited)
The Pajama Party (1931)
Producer
Dogs is Dogs (1931)
Producer (Uncredited)
The Hasty Marriage (1931)
Producer
One of the Smiths (1931)
Producer
Los Calaveras ("Be Big!" & "Laughing Gravy", Spanish) (1931)
Producer
War Mamas (1931)
Producer
On the Loose (1931)
Producer
Politiquerias (1931)
Producer
Catch as Catch Can (1931)
Producer
Love Fever (1931)
Producer
The Kick-Off! (1931)
Producer
Mama Loves Papa (1931)
Producer
The Rap (1931)
Producer
Air Tight (1931)
Producer
Call a Cop! (1931)
Producer
Chickens Come Home- (1931)
Producer
Les Carottiers (1931)
Producer
Skip the Maloo! (1931)
Producer
Let's Do Things (1931)
Producer
The Panic Is On (1931)
Producer
Come Clean (1931)
Producer (Uncredited)
High Gear (1931)
Producer
What a Bozo! (1931)
Producer
Blood and Thunder (1931)
Producer
Thundering Tenors (1931)
Producer
Rough Seas (1931)
Producer
Be Big! (1931)
Producer
Our Wife (1931)
Producer
One Good Turn (1931)
Producer
Love Business (1930)
Producer
Looser Than Loose (1930)
Producer
Tiembla Y Titubea ("Below Zero", Spanish) (1930)
Producer
Below Zero (1930)
Producer
The Big Kick (1930)
Producer
Ladies Last (1930)
Producer
Doctor's Orders (1930)
Producer
Bigger and Better (1930)
Producer
The Real McCoy (1930)
Producer
The Head Guy (1930)
Producer
Noche De Duendes ("Laurel & Hardy Murder Case" & "Berth Marks", Spanish) (1930)
Producer
The King (1930)
Producer
Ladrones ("Night Owls", Spanish) (1930)
Producer
Dollar Dizzy (1930)
Producer
Helping Grandma (1930)
Producer
The Shrimp (1930)
Producer
The First Seven Years (1930)
Producer
Girl Shock (1930)
Producer
High C's (1930)
Producer
Bear Shooters (1930)
Producer
La Vida Nocturna (1930)
Producer
Whispering Whoopee (1930)
Producer
The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930)
Producer (Uncredited)
Fighting Parson, The (1930)
Producer
Fast Work (1930)
Producer
Fifty Million Husbands (1930)
Producer
Night Owls (1930)
Producer
Hog Wild (1930)
Producer
Big Business (1929)
Producer
Hotter Than Hot (1929)
Producer
Snappy Sneezer (1929)
Producer
Sky Boy (1929)
Producer
Men O' War (1929)
Producer
Great Gobs (1929)
Producer
The Big Squawk (1929)
Producer
Angora Love (1929)
Producer
Bacon Grabbers (1929)
Producer
Double Whoopee (1929)
Producer
Skirt Shy (1929)
Producer
Perfect Day (1929)
Producer
Bouncing Babies (1929)
Producer
Boxing Gloves (1929)
Producer (Uncredited)
Berth Marks (1929)
Producer
Liberty (1929)
Producer
The Boy Friend (1928)
Producer
Let George Do It (1928)
Producer
The Finishing Touch (1928)
Producer
You're Darn Tootin' (1928)
Producer
The Way of All Pants (1927)
Producer
Fluttering Hearts (1927)
Producer
Olympic Games (1927)
Producer
Love My Dog (1927)
Producer
Assistant Wives (1927)
Producer
The Second 100 Years (1927)
Producer
Putting Pants on Phillip (1927)
Producer
Do Detectives Think? (1927)
Producer
Monkey Business (1926)
Producer
Be Your Age (1926)
Producer
The Fourth Alarm! (1926)
Producer
Good Cheer (1926)
Producer
Forty-Five Minutes From Hollywood (1926)
Producer
Uncle Tom's Uncle (1926)
Producer
Charley My Boy! (1926)
Producer
Long Pants (1926)
Producer
Thundering Fleas (1926)
Producer
Buried Treasure (1926)
Producer
Along Came Auntie (1926)
Producer
Shivering Spooks (1926)
Producer
Shootin' Injuns (1925)
Producer
Mary, Queen of Tots (1925)
Producer
Official Officers (1925)
Producer
Dog Daze (1925)
Producer
Boys Will Be Joys (1925)
Supervising Producer
One Wild Ride (1925)
Producer
High Society (1924)
Producer
Big Business (1924)
Producer
Fast Company (1924)
Producer
Seein' Things (1924)
Producer
It's A Bear (1924)
Producer
Every Man For Himself (1924)
Producer
The Sun Down Limited (1924)
Producer
The Buccaneers (1924)
Producer
Rupert of Hee Haw (1924)
Producer
The Mysterious Mystery! (1924)
Producer
Just a Good Guy (1924)
Producer
Jailed and Bailed (1923)
Producer
No Noise (1923)
Producer
The Cobbler (1923)
Producer
The Champeen (1923)
Producer
A Pleasant Journey (1923)
Producer
July Days (1923)
Producer
Saturday Morning (1922)
Producer
Fire Fighters (1922)
Producer
Our Gang (1922)
Producer
His Royal Slyness (1920)
Producer
Next Aisle Over (1919)
Producer
A Jazzed Honeymoon (1919)
Producer
The Marathon (1919)
Producer
Ring Up the Curtain (1919)
Producer
A Sammy in Siberia (1919)
Producer
Pistols for Breakfast (1919)
Producer
Captain Kidd's Kids (1919)
Producer
Just Neighbors (1919)
Producer
Young Mr. Jazz (1919)
Producer
Pay Your Dues (1919)
Producer
Spring Fever (1919)
Producer
Look Pleasant, Please (1918)
Producer
Take a Chance (1918)
Producer
A Gasoline Wedding (1918)
Producer
The Big Idea (1918)
Producer
Move On (1917)
Producer
Lonesome Luke, Messenger (1917)
Producer
Bashful (1917)
Producer
Pinched (1917)
Producer
By the Sad Sea Waves (1917)
Producer
Rainbow Island (1917)
Producer
Luke Locates the Loot (1916)
Producer

Life Events

1914

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

1919

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

1921

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

1927

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

1939

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

1948

Formed the Hal Roach Television Corporation

1960

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

1985

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

Photo Collections

General Spanky - Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills taken to help publicize General Spanky (1936), produced by Hal Roach and starring Spanky McFarland and Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas.
Way Out West - Movie Poster
Here is a movie poster from Way Out West (1937). starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
Turnabout - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills taken for Turnabout (1940), starring Carole Landis and John Hubbard. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Of Mice And Men (1939) - A Place Like That... Disabled Candy (Roman Bohnen) wonders if he can join new farm-hand pals George (Burgess Meredith) and Lenny (Lon Chaney Jr.) in their fantasy of buying their own place, in director Lewis Milestone's Of Mice And Men, 1939, from the Steinbeck novel.
Of Mice And Men (1939) - Opening, Lenny And George California migrant farm workers Lenny (Lon Chaney Jr.) and George (Burgess Meredith) are fleeing angry citizens of "Weed" in the opening of Lewis Milestone's Of Mice And Men, 1939, from the John Steinbeck novel.
Of Mice And Men (1939) - Them New Guys Candy (Roman Bohnen) introduces farm workers George (Burgess Meredith) and Lenny (Lon Chaney Jr.) to his skeptical boss Jackson (Oscar O'Shea) in Lewis Milestone's Of Mice And Men, 1939, from John Steinbeck's novel.
Of Mice And Men (1939) - Seen It The Other Night Pouting Mae (Betty Field) is disgusted by the dining habits of her despicable ranch-hand spouse Curley (Bob Steele) and his boss Jackson (Oscar O'Shea), in this near-pantomime from Lewis Milestone's Of Mice And Men, 1939, from John Steinbeck's novel.
Music Box, The (1932) - Why Certainly, Ma'am Interrupted by a neighborhood nanny, moving-men Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy make way, their piano crashing down the steps, in the Academy Award-winning short The Music Box, 1932.
Topper (1937) - Stop Being A Mummy From the annual board meeting, top share-holder George (Cary Grant) is disruptive, his inhibited banker friend Roland Young (title character) grumbling afterward before he notices wife Marion (Constance Bennett), in the office, the pair then considering his prospects, in Topper, 1937.
Topper (1937) - Old Man Moon From the opening sequence, affluent George and Marion (Cary Grant, Constance Bennett) go night-clubbing before his morning bank-board meeting, finishing at a joint where they’re on first names with Hoagy Carmichael himself, joining him in an original tune, in the Hal Roach comedy Topper 1937.
Topper (1937) - What Good Deeds Have You Done? Socialites George and Marion (Cary Grant, Constance Bennett) get killed, motoring home to their posh suburb, first discussing their up-tight banker, the title character (Roland Young, not seen), then their own future, Norman Z. McLeod directing producer Hal Roach’s Topper, 1937.
Tit For Tat (1935) - My Partner Had A Nervous Breakdown Opening the Hal Roach Laurel & Hardy short from 1935, James Morton the cop, Charley Hall and Mae Busch the shopkeepers next door, in Tit For Tat.
Never Weaken (1921) - In A Certain City The opening of Harold Lloyd’s last short, for Hal Roach Studios, before moving to features, introducing Mildred Davis as his love interest and Mark Jones as an acrobatic office building neighbor, in Never Weaken, 1921.
Never Weaken (1921) - Like A Hollow Sepulcher Wrongly convinced that his beloved (Mildred Davis, occupant of the office next door) is marrying someone else, the boy (Harold Lloyd) proceeds with the first two of several suicide attempts, in the three-reel Hal Roach short Never Weaken, 1921.
One Million B.C. (1940) - The Saga Concerns Two Tribes Hiding from a storm in the Alps, climbers addressed by a scholar they met in a cave (Conrad Nagel), only too willing to reveal what he's learned, offering Carole Landis and Victor Mature as models for the story he's deduced, opening Hal Roach's One Million B.C., 1940.

Trailer

Promo

Family

Hal Roach Jr
Son
Producer. Born in 1918 in Los Angeles; died in 1972.
Margaret Roach
Daughter
Actor. Born in March 1921; died in 1964; married to Robert Livingston.

Companions

Margaret Nichols
Wife
Actor. Born in 1900; died in March 1941.
Frances Hilton
Companion
Widow of hotel tycoon Conrad Hilton.

Bibliography

"The Films of Hal Roach"
William K Everson, Museum of Modern Art