24 Facts About Hal Roach


Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York, to Charles Henry Roach, whose father was born in Wicklow, County Wicklow, Ireland, and Mabel Gertrude Bally, her father John Bally being from Switzerland.


Hal Roach married a second time, on September 1,1942, to Lucille Prin, a Los Angeles secretary.


In 1925, Roach hired away Sennett's supervising director, F Richard Jones.


Hal Roach released his films through Pathe Exchange until 1927, when he struck a distribution deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


Hal Roach converted his silent-movie studio to sound in late 1928 and began releasing talking shorts in early 1929.


Two-reel comedies were less profitable than features, and Hal Roach phased most of them out by 1936.


MGM still wanted the Our Gang short subjects, so Hal Roach agreed to supply them in single-reel form.

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Hal Roach claimed the scheme involved Italian bankers providing US$6 million that would enable Hal Roach's studio to produce a series of 12 films.


In May 1938, Hal Roach sold MGM the production rights and actors contracts to the Our Gang shorts.


Hal Roach signed a distribution deal with United Artists at this time.


From 1937 to 1940, Hal Roach concentrated on producing glossy features, abandoning low comedy almost completely.


In 1940, Hal Roach experimented with medium-length featurettes, running 40 to 50 minutes each.


In 1946, Hal Roach resumed motion picture production, with former Harold Lloyd co-star Bebe Daniels as an associate producer.


Hal Roach was the first Hollywood producer to adopt an all-color production schedule, making four streamliners in Cinecolor, although the increased production costs did not result in increased revenue.


Hal Roach lent his film library to the cause but was otherwise not involved in the new video productions.


Extremely vigorous into an advanced age, Hal Roach contemplated a comedy comeback at 96.


In 1984,92-year-old Hal Roach was presented with an honorary Academy Award.


On January 21,1992, Hal Roach was a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, one week after his 100th birthday, where he recounted experiences with such stars as Stan Laurel and Jean Harlow; he even did a brief, energetic demonstration of the "humble hula" dance.


In February 1992, Hal Roach traveled to Berlin to receive the honorary award of the Berlinale Kamera for Lifetime Achievement at the 42nd Berlin International Film Festival.


On March 30,1992, Hal Roach appeared at the 64th Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Billy Crystal.


Hal Roach died in his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, from pneumonia, on November 2,1992, at the age of 100.


Hal Roach had married twice, and had six children, eight grandchildren, and a number of great-grandchildren.


Hal Roach outlived many of the children who starred in his films.


Hal Roach is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York, where he grew up.