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Hal Roach
Biographical Information

Sex:
Age:100
Birth Date:January 14, 1892
Astrology Sign:Capricron
Chinese Sign: -
Birth Name:Harry Eugene Roach
Birth Place:Elmira, NY
Died Date:November 2, 1992
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HAL ROACH
Hal Roach

Biography:Hal Roach

Early life and career Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York to a family of Irish Catholic extraction. It was at his grade school in Elmira that a very young Hal Roach was impressed by a speech presented by a great American humorist, Mark Twain.

After an adventurous youth that took him to Alaska, Hal Roach arrived in Hollywood in 1912 and began working as an extra in silent movies. When he came into an inheritance he began producing short comedies in 1915 with his friend Harold Lloyd, who portrayed a character known as "Lonesome Luke."

Success as a comedy producer During the 1920s and 1930s, he employed Will Rogers, Max Davidson, the Our Gang kids, Charley Chase, Harry Langdon, Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts, Patsy Kelly and, most famously, Laurel & Hardy.

During the '20s Roach's biggest rival was producer Mack Sennett, and in 1925 Roach hired away Sennett's supervising director, F. Richard Jones.

Roach released his films through Pathé until 1927, when he went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He would change again in 1938 to United Artists. He converted his silent movie studio to sound in 1928 and began releasing talking shorts early in 1929. In those days before dubbing, foreign language versions of the Roach comedies were created by re-shooting each film to create Spanish, French, and sometimes Italian and German dialogue phonetically. Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, and the Our Gang kids (some of whom had barely begun school) were required to learned the foreign dialogue phonetically, often working from blackboards hidden out of camera range.

In 1931, with the release of the Laurel & Hardy film Pardon Us, Roach began producing full-length features. The increasingly less profitable short subjects were gradually phased out by 1936, with only the Our Gang series continuing until 1938, when Roach sold the contracts of the Our Gang cast members and the series name to MGM. Roach turned wholly to producing features, the most memorable of which were Topper (1937), Of Mice and Men (1939) and One Million B.C. (1940).

Hal Roach, Sr. was called to active military duty in June 1942, at age fifty, and the studio output he oversaw in uniform was converted from entertainment features to military training films during World War II.

Hal Roach in 1947-1948 became the first Hollywood studio to go into an all-color production schedule, making four short features in Cinecolor, although the increased production costs did not result in increased revenue. In 1948, with his studio deeply in debt, Roach re-established his studio for television production, with Hal Roach, Jr. producing shows such as The Stu Erwin Show and My Little Margie, and independent producers leasing the facilities for such programs as Amos 'n' Andy and The Abbott and Costello Show.

Later years Roach retired in the late 1950s having sold his studio in Culver City, California to his son, Hal Roach, Jr., who in 1962 lost it to creditors. The 14.5 acre (237 m²) studio, once known as "The Lot of Fun", was torn down in 1963 and replaced by light industrial buildings, businesses, and an automobile dealership, where a plaque marks the studio's location. Hal Roach, Jr. died in 1972.

Hal Roach, Sr. resumed producing, occasionally worked on projects related to his past work for two more decades and was still planning a "come back" comedy when he was 96 years of age.

Hal Roach Studios, now reduced to a film library, was bought by a Canadian company and primarily handled the business of keeping its library in the public's eye, and licensing products based upon their classic film series.

In the early 1980s, Hal Roach Studios was one of the first studios to venture into the controversial business of film colorization, creating digitaly colored versions of several Laurel & Hardy features, the Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life, and other popular films.

In the 1980s, Hal Roach Studios produced Kids Incorporated in association with old business partner MGM. From 1988—1990, while producing Kids Incorporated, Hal Roach Studios changed its name to Qintex (not to be confused with the Australian company of the same name).

In the years that followed, the Roach company changed hands several more times. Independent television producer Robert Halmi bought the company in the early 1990s, and it became RHI Entertainment. A short time later, this successor company was acquired by Hallmark Entertainment, and today runs as a division of Hallmark (with Lions Gate Home Entertainment as home video output partner). In that same decade, a new incarnation of Hal Roach Studios (operated by the Roach Trust) was established, and today this new version of the company has released classic films on DVD, many of which are from Roach's own archival prints of his films, while others are public domain titles mastered from the best available 35mm elements.

Hal Roach was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, where he recounted experiences with such stars as Stan Laurel and Jean Harlow; he even did a brief, energetic demonstration of a hula dance.

At age 92, he was presented with an honorary Academy Award in 1984. In the spring of 1992, not long after his 100th birthday, Roach once again appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Billy Crystal. When Mr. Roach rose from the audience to speak during the ceremony, the sound system did not pick up his words. Crystal quipped "What do you expect? He started in the silent era!"

Hal Roach was two months away from his one-hundred-and-first birthday, when he died on November 2, 1992, at his home in Bel Air, California from natural causes.

He was married twice, and had a number of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York, where he had grown up.

Achievements: (Filmography)
Silent Movie (1976)
Our Gang (1944)
Laurel and Hardy (1940)
Topper (1937)
Way Out West (1937)
Babes in Toyland (1934)
Pete the Pup (1927)
Safety Last (1923)
Why Worry? (1923)

Personality and Character Cards:
Personality and character cards are identical!

Hal Roach's Personality Tarot Card Strength - Personality Card

Birthday: January 14, 1892

A time for self-awareness involving courage, strength, and determination.


This year's Growth Tarot Card
Based on this year's birthday

Hal Roach's Growth Tarot Card The Sun

Birthday: January 14, 2011

Cheerfulness, prosperity, energy and optimism.

 

 

 

Portions of famous people database was used with permission from Russell Grant from his book The Book of Birthdays Copyright © 1999, All rights reserved. Certain biographical material and photos licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, from Wikipedia, which is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

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