Hal Roach

Hal Roach

Original Name Harold Eugene Roach
Birth
Elmira, Chemung County, New York, USA
Death 2 Nov 1992 (aged 100)
Bel Air, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Elmira, Chemung County, New York, USA
Plot Roach Family Plot, Locust Avenue, Section C
Memorial ID 1254 · View Source
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Film Director and Producer. He gained recognition in the American film industry as an award-winning producer, director, and writer of comedy series starting in the 1920s. Two of his most successful series were “Laurel and Hardy” and “Our Gang,” which was also known as “The Little Rascals.” In the pioneering days of the film industry, he and Mack Sennett were the creators of chaos or slap-stick comedy. Born Harold Eugene Roach, he was a gold prospector in Alaska, a wrangler and a mule skinner before arriving to Hollywood, California in 1912 and taking bit parts in silent movies. Realizing that he was a terrible actor, he started his career behind the camera. After coming into a small inheritance, he started producing, directing and writing as series of short films in 1915 under the name of Phun Philms, which was changed to the Rolin Studios, and starring in the films, actor Harold Lloyd. He also married in 1915 and had a son, Hal Roach, Jr. and a daughter who died at age twenty in 1941. Unable to expand his studio because of zoning issues, he purchased a studio lot in Culver City, California that would become in 1920 Hal Roach Studios or the”Laugh-Factory to the World.” He produced a Will Rogers series in 1923. At this point, in the Golden Age of film in the 1930s, he had a host of top comedians such as Laurel and Hardy, who made 101 films, and “Our Gang.” He was becoming a very wealthy man with this success. He produced the 1932 Laurel and Hardy film “The Music Box,” which received the first Academy Award for a live action short. Keeping up with the times, his studio successfully switched from short films, to feature films, and then to double features to meet the public's demands from decade to decade. Sennett had became his number-one competition but declared bankruptcy in 1933. He had hits such as “Topper” in 1937 with the two sequels, “Of Mice and Men” in 1939, and “One Million B.C” in 1940, which was the most profitable film made that year. During World War II, he served at the rank of major in the United States Army Air Corps. While in the military, he married for a second time in 1942, and started a second family having four more children. By 1950 television was popular, and Roach shifted to all TV-productions by 1955 with “My Little Margie” from 1952 to 1955, “The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna” from 1956 to 1960 and “Blondie” in 1957. In April of 1959 while he was in retirement, the Hal Roach Studios was closed due to bankruptcy under the management of his son Hal Roach, Jr. His son had purchased the studios in 1955. Although Roach, Sr. attempted to revive the studio, all attempts failed and the studio closed. The Hal Roach Studios' facilities were demolished in 1963. In 1971 he opened Hal Roach Studios, Incorporated in New York. Staying active in the business, he was part of the development of cable television and in 1983 developed computer colorization. At the age of 92 he was the recipient of an honorary Academy Award and recognized again at the 64 th Academy Awards at the age of 100. Seven months later, he died.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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Inscription

HAL E. ROACH
1892-1992
AFTER LEAVING ELMIRA HE FOUND
SUCCESS IN HOLLYWOOD AND
MOTION PICTURES, BUT ALWAYS
LOVED HIS HOMETOWN AND
HAS RETURNED.
--
LT COL US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
JAN 14, 1892 * NOV 2, 1992


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1254
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Hal Roach (14 Jan 1892–2 Nov 1992), Find a Grave Memorial no. 1254, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira, Chemung County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .