Roach, Hal

Roach, Hal (Harold Eugene Roach, Sr.), 1892–1992, American move producer and director, b. Elmira, N.Y. He entered (1912) the motion-picture industry as an extra, and by 1914 had founded a production company, making comedies that featured Harold Lloyd. In 1919 he opened Hal Roach Studios in Culver City, Calif., and during the 1920s and 30s turned out a string of successful comedy shorts starring the likes of Laurel and Hardy, “Our Gang,” and Will Rogers. He released his first feature, Laurel and Hardy's Pardon Us, in 1931, and soon turned to full-length dramas, such as Topper (1937) and Of Mice and Men (1939). In the late 1940s he switched to television series, leasing his facilities for show production and producing his own sitcoms, e.g., My Little Margie (1952–55).

See W. K. Everson, Films of Hal Roach (1971) and R. L. Ward, A History of the Hal Roach Studios (2005).

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