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"Frederick Christ Trump (October 11, 1905–June 25, 1999) was an American real estate developer and philanthropist, primarily in New York City. Trump and his mother, Elizabeth Christ Trump, lost Trump's father, Frederick, when Trump was 13 years old. By 15, in partnership with his mother and non-family investors, Trump had begun a career in home construction and sales. The development company was incorporated as E. Trump & Son in 1927, and grew to build and manage single-family houses in Queens, barracks and garden apartments for U. S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, and more than 27,000 apartments in New York City. Trump remains a controversial figure. While there is some evidence of his philanthropy, he was investigated by a U. S. Senate committee for wartime profiteering and by the U. S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for civil rights violations. The later incident inspired a song by tenant and folk singer, Woody Guthrie. Frederick Christ Trump was born in the Bronx on October 11, 1905. Trump was one of three children of German immigrants Elizabeth Christ and Frederick Trump. He had a younger brother John and sister Elizabeth Trump Walters. His father Frederick Trump, originally named Friedrich Trumpf, had immigrated to New York City in 1885 from the small German town of Kallstadt, Palatinate. He returned to Kallstadt and married Elisabeth Christ, a much younger neighbor, in 1902. Friedrich Trump's name was recorded as Trumpf on the passenger list of his ship when he immigrated to the USA. Britt Peterson of The Boston Globe reports, based on the Blair biography, that the family had changed the spelling from the ancestral Drumpf, sometime during the Thirty Years' War. When Trump was 13 years old, his father died during the 1918 flu pandemic. Shortly afterward, Trump started his first job as a "horse's helper," carrying lumber to construction sites after school. Trump became a carpenter and took classes in reading blueprints. In 1920, at age 15, Fred Trump went into business with his mother in construction and real estate development, forming Elizabeth Trump & Son. His mother Elizabeth Christ Trump was an active partner, signing the checks since he was under 21 and not yet an adult. With an $800 loan from his mother, Trump built his first house in Woodhaven in 1923 and sold it for $7,000. His mother formally incorporated E. Trump & Son in 1927, when Fred was 22, with three outside investors and an investment of $50,000. In the late 1920s, Trump began building single-family houses in Queens, which were sold for $3,990 each. On Memorial Day in 1927, the Ku Klux Klan marched in Queens to protest that "Native-born Protestant Americans" were being "assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City." Fred Trump was one of seven men who were arrested that day "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so." In 2016, Vice magazine reported on their investigation of earlier newspaper clippings and found that Trump was the only person arrested who was not charged with any crime, leading them to conclude that he could have been a bystander; they also speculated that Trump may have been a member of the KKK, which had gone through a revival in urban areas after 1915. When asked about the issue in September 2015 by The New York Times, Donald Trump, then a candidate for [president] of the United States, denied that his father had been arrested, or that he had been in the KKK. By the mid-1930s in the middle of the Great Depression, he helped pioneer the concept of supermarkets with the Trump Market in Woodhaven, which advertised "Serve Yourself and Save!" becoming an instant hit. After only a year Trump sold it to the King Kullen supermarket chain. Trump married British immigrant Mary Anne MacLeod in 1936 and they settled in Jamaica, Queens. Her birthplace is on the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris. On May 2, 1930, she emigrated to the United States, leaving Glasgow on the RMS Transylvania. She stated her occupation as "domestic," meaning either a servant or maid in domestic service. She returned to Scotland on the SS Cameronia, arriving on September 12, 1934. She traveled on a "re-entry permit" obtained from Washington on March 3, 1934—a permit only granted to immigrants intending to stay and gain U. S. citizenship—where she was again listed as a "domestic," going to live with her sister Catherine Reid. Fred and Mary Trump had five children. Their adult, married names and occupations are or were: Maryanne Trump Barry, a federal appeals court judge; Frederick Christ Trump, Jr., an airline pilot with TransWorld Airlines; Elizabeth Trump Grau, an executive assistant at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald John Trump, businessman, television personality, 45th President of the United States; Robert Trump, president of his father's property management company. Freddy Trump, Jr. predeceased his parents, dying at age 42 of complications associated with his alcoholism. Fred Trump suffered from Alzheimer's disease for six years. He fell ill with pneumonia in June 1999 and was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died at age 93 a few weeks later. Trump's estate was estimated by his family at $250 million to $300 million; his funeral was held at the Marble Collegiate Church. He is interred at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. His widow, Mary, died the following summer, on August 7, 2000, in New Hyde Park, New York, at age 88."
"Willis Ben Bouchey (May 24, 1907–September 27, 1977) was an American character actor who appeared in almost 150 films and television shows. He was born in Vernon, Michigan, but reared by his mother and stepfather in Washington State. Bouchey may be best known for his movie appearances in The Horse Soldiers, The Long Gray Line, Sergeant Rutledge, Two Rode Together, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Big Heat, Pickup on South Street, No Name on the Bullet, and Suddenly. He also made uncredited appearances in From Here to Eternity, How the West Was Won, Them!, Executive Suite, and A Star is Born, and appears briefly in Frank Capra's cameo-filled comedy Pocketful of Miracles. Bouchey projected a sober, dignified demeanor that served him well in character roles. He was a member of Jack Webb's Dragnet stock company, billed variously as "Willis Bouchey," "William Bouchey," or "Bill Bouchey." He appeared as a sheep trader in the title 1958 episode "Cash Robertson" of the NBC children's western series, Buckskin. In 1960 to 1961, he was cast twice in the ABC sitcom, Harrigan and Son, starring Pat O'Brien and Roger Perry, and four times in the role of Springer in the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys. He guest starred on CBS's Dennis the Menace and played a judge in 23 episodes of that same network's Perry Mason, "one of the more frequent judges on the bench" in that program. Also on CBS, on Rod Sterling's Willis Bouchey appeared as Dr. Samuel Thorne in the episode The Mask which premiered March 20th, 1964. Also in 1964, he appeared on "Petticoat Junction." He was Dr. John Rhone in the episode "Kate Flat on Her Back." He also worked again with Perry Mason title star Raymond Burr in an episode of NBC's Ironside. He made guest appearances on Sheriff of Cochise, Crossroads, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Johnny Ringo, Stoney Burke, Going My Way, The Dakotas, Hazel, and The Andy Griffith Show. On ABC's Colt .45 television series, Bouchey played Lew Wallace, the governor of New Mexico Territory, in the episode "Amnesty." Wallace offered a pardon to the bandit Billy the Kid, played on Colt .45 by Robert Conrad. Throughout his career, Bouchey worked in twelve different productions for director John Ford and was one of the more frequently-used members of Ford's stock company. In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance he delivered the line, "Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance."
"John Arthur Johnson (March 31, 1878–June 10, 1946), nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an American boxer who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion. Among the period's most dominant champions, Johnson remains a boxing legend, with his 1910 fight against James J. Jeffries dubbed the "fight of the century." According to filmmaker Ken Burns, "for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African American on Earth." Transcending boxing, he became part of the culture and the history of racism in America. In 1912, Johnson opened a successful and luxurious "black and tan" restaurant and nightclub, which in part was run by his wife, a white woman. Major newspapers of the time soon claimed that Johnson was attacked by the government only after he became famous as a black man married to a white woman, and was linked to other white women. Johnson was arrested on charges of violating the Mann Act forbidding one to transport a woman across state lines for "immoral purposes," a racially motivated charge that embroiled him in controversy for his relationships, including marriages, with white women. There were also allegations of domestic violence. Sentenced to a year in prison, Johnson fled the country and fought boxing matches abroad for seven years until 1920 when he served his sentence at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth. Johnson was posthumously pardoned by President Donald Trump in May 2018, 105 years after his conviction. Johnson continued taking paying fights for many years, and operated several other businesses, including lucrative endorsement deals. Johnson died in a car crash on June 10, 1946, at the age of 68. He is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. Johnson was born the third child of nine, and the first son, of Henry and Tina Johnson, two former slaves who worked blue collar jobs as a janitor and a dishwasher. His father Henry served as a civilian teamster of the Union's 38th Colored Infantry. Jack once said his father was the "most perfect physical specimen that he had ever seen," although his father was only 5 ft 5 in and left with an atrophied right leg from his service in the war. Growing up in Galveston, Texas, Johnson attended five years of school. Like all of his siblings, Jack was expected to work. Although Johnson grew up in the South, he said that segregation was not an issue in the somewhat secluded city of Galveston, as everyone living in Galveston's 12th Ward was poor and went through the same struggles. Johnson remembers growing up with a "gang" of white boys, in which he never felt victimized or excluded. Remembering his childhood, Johnson said: "As I grew up, the white boys were my friends and my pals. I ate with them, played with them and slept at their homes. Their mothers gave me cookies, and I ate at their tables. No one ever taught me that white men were superior to me." Johnson was a frail young boy. After Johnson quit school, he began a job working at the local docks. He made several other attempts at working other jobs around town until one day he made his way to Dallas, finding work at the race track exercising horses. Jack stuck with this job until he found a new apprenticeship for a carriage painter by the name of Walter Lewis. Lewis enjoyed watching friends spar, and Johnson began to learn how to box. Johnson later claimed that it was thanks to Lewis that he became a boxer. Johnson engaged in various relationships including three documented marriages. All of his wives were white. At the height of his career, Johnson was excoriated by the press for his flashy lifestyle and for having married white women. According to Johnson's 1927 autobiography, he married Mary Austin, a black woman from Galveston, Texas. No record exists of this marriage. During a three-month tour of Australia in 1907, Johnson had a brief affair with Alma "Lola" Toy, a white woman from Sydney. Johnson confirmed to an American journalist that he intended to marry Toy. When The Referee printed Johnson's plans to marry Toy, it caused controversy in Sydney. Toy demanded a retraction and later won a libel lawsuit from the newspaper. After returning from Australia, Johnson said that "the heartaches which Mary Austin and Clara Kerr caused me led me to forswear colored women and to determine that my lot henceforth would be cast only with white women." Johnson met Etta Terry Duryea, a Brooklyn socialite and former wife of Clarence Duryea, at a car race in 1909. In 1910, Johnson hired a private investigator to follow Duryea after suspecting she was having an affair with his chauffeur. On Christmas day, Johnson confronted Duryea and beat her so badly she was hospitalized. They reconciled and were married in January 1911. Prone to depression, her condition worsened because of Johnson's abuse and infidelity. She committed suicide in September 1912, shooting herself. On December 4, 1912, Johnson married Lucille Cameron. Cameron divorced him in 1924 because of infidelity. There have been recurring proposals to grant Johnson a posthumous presidential pardon. A bill requesting President George W. Bush to pardon Johnson in 2008 passed the House, but failed to pass in the Senate. In April 2009, Senator John McCain, along with Representative Peter King, filmmaker Ken Burns and Johnson's great-niece, Linda Haywood, requested a presidential pardon for Johnson from President Barack Obama. In July of that year, Congress passed a resolution calling on President Obama to issue a pardon. In 2016, another petition for Johnson's pardon was issued by McCain, King, Senator Harry Reid and Congressman Gregory Meeks to President Obama, marking the 70th anniversary since the boxer's death. This time citing a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed by the president in December 2015, in which Congress expressed that this boxing great should receive a posthumous pardon, and a vote by the United States Commission on Civil Rights passed unanimously a week earlier in June 2016 to "right this century-old wrong." Mike Tyson, Harry Reid and John McCain lent their support to the campaign, starting a Change.org petition asking President Obama to posthumously pardon the world's first African-American boxing champion of his racially motivated 1913 felony conviction. In April 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was considering a full pardon of Johnson after speaking with actor Sylvester Stallone. Trump pardoned Johnson on May 24 of that year. On June 10, 1946, Johnson died in a car crash on U. S. Highway 1 near Franklinton, North Carolina a small town near Raleigh, after racing angrily from a diner that refused to serve him. He was taken to the closest black hospital, Saint Agnes Hospital in Raleigh. He was 68 years old at the time of his death. He was buried next to Etta Duryea Johnson at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. His grave was initially unmarked, but a stone that bears only the name "Johnson" now stands above the plots of Jack, Etta, and Irene Pineau."
Source: Wikipedia.org | Sunday, June 10, 2018, 6:15PM CDT
"Peter Whitney (born Peter King Engle May 24, 1916–March 30, 1972) was an American actor in film and television. Whitney was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. Tall and heavy set, he played brutish villains in many Hollywood films in the 1940s and 1950s. Whitney was often a supporting character actor credited at least in the top ten actors appearing in several Hollywood classic feature films, such as Destination Tokyo, Action in the North Atlantic, Mr. Skeffington, Murder, He Says, The Big Heat, In the Heat of the Night, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, and others before becoming well known for his work in television. From the late 1950s, Whitney played character roles in many television series, including nine appearances on ABC's The Rifleman. One of his roles in The Rifleman was "Mail Order Groom" an episode in which he portrays John Jupiter, a man of great physical strength who must exert patience while he is harassed by two townsmen, played by John Anderson and Sandy Kenyon, who had quarreled with Whitney's intended spinster bride, Isabel Dent, played by Alice Backes. In 1960, in "The Longest Rope," the season premiere episode of the ABC/WB western series Cheyenne, Whitney was cast as the cruel, corrupt and entrenched Sheriff Hugo Parma of the community of High Point, where series protagonist Cheyenne Bodie (Clint Walker) had lived for a time in his early teens. In that episode's storyline, Bodie returns for a sentimental visit to High Point, only to find himself a successful but reluctant write-in candidate for sheriff against Parma. Donald May and Merry Anders also guest-starred in the episode as young adults from Bodie's past in High Point. Whitney made three guest appearances on the CBS courtroom drama series Perry Mason. In 1961 he performed as the character Roger Gates in "The Case of the Pathetic Patient," in 1962, as prison escapee Stefan "Big Steve" Jahn chek in "The Case of the Stand-in Sister," and in 1965, as Captain Otto Varnum in "The Case of the Wrongful Writ." Peter Whitney's final role on television was that of a grave robber in writer Rod Serling's series Night Gallery, in a 1972 episode segment titled "Deliveries in the Rear." Whitney died of a heart attack at the age of 55 in Santa Barbara, California. He was buried at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village, California."
Source: Wikipedia.org | The Riflema's episode entitled "Heller" | Original air date February 23, 1960, replayed on Friday, October 5, 2018, MeTV 2:30PM-3:00PM CDT
"Paul Edward Winfield (May 22, 1941–March 7, 2004) was an American television, film and stage actor. He was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film Sounder, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. He portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1978 television miniseries King, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. Winfield was also known to science fiction fans for his roles in The Terminator, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He received five Emmy nominations overall, winning for his 1994 guest role in Picket Fences. Winfield was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lois Beatrice Edwards, a union organizer in the garment industry. His stepfather from the age of eight was Clarence Winfield, a city trash collector and construction worker. He graduated from Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. From there, he attended the University of Portland; Stanford University; Los Angeles City College; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Hawaii and the University of California, Santa Barbara. A life member of The Actors Studio, Winfield carved out a diverse career in film, television, theater and voiceovers by taking groundbreaking roles at a time when black actors were rarely cast. He first appeared in the 1965 Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Runaway Racer," as Mitch, a race car mechanic. His first major feature film role was in the 1969 film, The Lost Man starring Sidney Poitier. Winfield first became well-known to television audiences when he appeared for several years opposite Diahann Carroll on the groundbreaking television series Julia. Filmed during a high point of racial tensions in the United States, the show was unique in featuring a black female as the central character. He also starred as Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1978 miniseries King. Winfield also took on roles as homosexual characters in the films Mike's Murder in 1984 and again in 1998 in the film Relax...It's Just Sex. He found success off-camera due to his unique voice. He provided voices on the cartoons Spider-Man,The Magic School Bus, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, Batman Beyond, Gargoyles, K10C and The Simpsons, on the latter voicing the Don King parody Lucius Sweet. In his voiceover career, he is perhaps best known as the narrator for the A&E true crime series City Confidential, a role he began in 1998 and continued with until his death in 2004. Throughout his career, Winfield frequently managed to perform in the theater. He won an Emmy Award, in 1995, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, for his appearance as Judge Harold Nance in an episode of the CBS drama Picket Fences. Winfield was gay, but remained discreet about it in the public eye. His partner of 30 years, architect Charles Gillan, Jr., died on March 5, 2002, of bone cancer. Winfield long battled obesity and diabetes. He died of a heart attack in 2004 at age 62, at Queen of Angels–Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles. Winfield and Gillan are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles."
"William Scott Elam, known as Jack Elam (November 13, 1920–October 20, 2003) was an American film and television actor best known for his numerous roles as villains in Western films and, later in his career, comedies (sometimes spoofing his villainous image). His most distinguishing physical quality was his lazy left eye. Before his career in acting, he took several jobs in finance and served two years in the United States Navy during World War II. Elam played in 73 movies and made an appearance in 41 television series. His best known works consist of Once Upon a Time in the West, High Noon and the television program The Twilight Zone. Jack Elam died in 2003 of congestive heart failure, leaving behind two daughters and one son. Elam was born in Miami in Gila County in south central Arizona, to Millard Elam and Alice Amelia Kirby. His mother died in 1922 when Jack was two years old. By 1930, he was living with his father, older sister Mildred, and their stepmother, Flossie Varney Elam. He grew up picking cotton and lost the sight in his left eye during a boyhood accident when he was stabbed with a pencil at a Boy Scout meeting. He was a student at both Miami High School in Gila County and Phoenix Union High School in Maricopa County, graduating from there in the late 1930s. Elam attended Santa Monica Junior College in California. After that, he worked as a bookkeeper at the Bank of America in Los Angeles and as an auditor for the Standard Oil Company. In World War II, he served two years in the United States Navy and subsequently became an independent accountant in Hollywood; one of his clients was movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn. At one time, he was the manager of the Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles. Elam made multiple guest-star appearances in many popular Western television series in the 1950s and 1960s, including Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Lawman, Bonanza, Cheyenne, Have Gun Will Travel, Zorro, The Lone Ranger, The Rebel, F Troop, and Rawhide. In 1961, he played a slightly crazed character on The Twilight Zone episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" In 1994, Elam was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. He was married twice, first to Jean Elam from 1937 to her death in 1961 and second, Margaret Jennison from 1961 until his death in 2003. Elam had two daughters, Jeri Elam and Jacqueline Elam, and a son, Scott Elam. Elam died in Ashland, Oregon, of congestive heart failure, a month before he would have turned 83."
"Thomas Milton Benson (July 12, 1927–March 15, 2018) was an American businessman, philanthropist and sports franchise owner. He was the owner of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League from 1985 to 2018 and New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association from 2012 to 2018. Benson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Thomas Benson, Sr. and Carmen Benson. He served in the U. S. Navy and then graduated with an accounting degree at Loyola University New Orleans in 1948. After school he worked as a car salesman at Cathey Chevrolet in New Orleans. In 1956, he moved to San Antonio to try and revive a poorly performing dealership; he was granted a 25 percent interest in the dealership for his efforts. In 1962, he became full owner of Tom Benson Chevrolet. He was the owner of several automobile dealerships in the Greater New Orleans and San Antonio areas. Benson became wealthy by investing profits from his automobile dealerships in local banks. He eventually purchased several small Southern banks and formed Benson Financial, which he sold to Norwest Corporation in 1996. Benson purchased the Saints from John Mecom in 1985 after he learned from Governor Edwin W. Edwards that the team was on the verge of being sold to parties interested in moving the team to Jacksonville, Florida. Ownership of the team was officially transferred to him on May 31, 1985. Shortly after acquiring the Saints, Benson gained a reputation as one of the more popular and colorful owners in the league. He hired general manager Jim Finks and head coach Jim Mora, who led the Saints to their first winning season and playoff appearance. Benson's popularity later declined, however, after numerous attempts to persuade the state of Louisiana to construct a new stadium for the Saints to replace the aging Superdome, suggesting that he might move the team elsewhere if said stadium were not built. His popularity hit an all-time low in late 2005 after it appeared he was trying to move the team to San Antonio after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. He later stated that the Saints would return to New Orleans for the 2006 season, which they did. The team's fortunes improved dramatically in the years after their return, including a 31–17 defeat of the Indianapolis Colts on February 7, 2010 to win Super Bowl XLIV, and Benson recovered much of his popularity as well. On July 18, 2008, the Benson-led Louisiana Media Company consummated their purchase of WVUE-DT, the Fox affiliate for the New Orleans area and by virtue of their affiliation, the major carrier of Saints games as part of the NFL on Fox contract. Since the sale, the station has also become the de facto home of the Saints, including coach's shows and preseason games. Benson was well known for doing the "Benson Boogie" after Saints home victories. Benson, in true New Orleans fashion, would second line dance down the field of the Superdome in the closing minutes of the game while carrying an umbrella decorated in black and gold. Benson spent his final years in the exclusive Audubon Place neighborhood in New Orleans. His brother, Larry Benson, has also been in sports ownership and owned the San Antonio Riders of the World League. Benson was married three times. His first wife was Shirley Landry who is deceased. In 2003, his second wife, Grace Marie Trudeau Benson died of Parkinson's disease. In October 2004, he married Gayle Marie LaJaunie. Tom Benson and his first wife Shirley adopted three children: Robert Carter Benson, Renee Benson, and Jeanne Marie Benson. Renee Benson has two adult children, Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc. Rita Benson LeBlanc was Saints owner and executive vice president until Tom Benson fired her, her brother Ryan and her mother Renee, and wrote them out of his will. She, along with her mother Renee and brother Ryan LeBlanc, then sued Tom Benson claiming he is incompetent, and for control of his companies. Benson's only living child, as of January 2015, is Renee. Benson was hospitalized on February 16, 2018, with the flu. He died on March 15, 2018, at Ochsner Medical Center in Jefferson, Louisiana, at age 90."
Source: Wikipedia.org | Saturday, March 31, 2018, 9:00PM CDT
"John Eldredge (August 30, 1904–September 23, 1961) was an American actor from San Francisco. He was the younger brother of character actor George Eldredge (1898–1977). Born August 30, 1904, John Eldredge was the son of a clergyman who made a specialty of dramatics at university. When he confessed to his father that he wanted to be an actor, his father grinned and said, "That's all right son so long as you are a good one." He began his theatrical career in repertory and then in comic opera and later played small parts in New York City till he made a hit on Broadway and it was a role opposite Lillian Gish that won him a Warners film contract. Eldredge's Broadway credits include Three-Cornered Moon, The Good Fairy, Katerina, The Cherry Orchard and The Would-be Gentleman. He also played various villains e. g., "Walter Canby" in the "Adventures of Superman" (1953–1958). In 1954–1955, [E]ldredge played Harry Archer, father of the title character, in the CBS Television situation comedy Meet Corliss Archer. He died September 23, 1961 of a heart attack at Laguna Beach, California, United States."
Source: Wikipedia.org | FindAGrave.com | Saturday, July 14, 2018, 10:55AM
"Harold Eugene Roach Sr. (January 14, 1892–November 2, 1992) was an American film and television producer, director, and actor from the 1910s to the 1990s, best known today for producing the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang film comedy series. Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York, the grandson of Irish immigrants. A presentation by the great American humorist Mark Twain impressed Roach as a young grade school student. After an adventurous youth that took him to Alaska, Hal Roach arrived in Hollywood, California, in 1912 and began working as an extra in silent films. Upon coming into an inheritance, he began producing short film comedies in 1915 with his friend Harold Lloyd, who portrayed a character known as Lonesome Luke. Hal Roach, Sr. was called to active military duty in the Signal Corps in June 1942, at age 50, and the studio output he oversaw in uniform was converted from entertainment featurettes to military training films. The studios were leased to the U. S. Army Air Forces, and the First Motion Picture Unit made 400 training, morale and propaganda films at "Fort Roach." Members of the unit included Ronald W. Reagan and Alan Ladd. After the war the government returned the studio to Roach, with millions of dollars of improvements. In 1946, Hal Roach resumed motion picture production, with former Harold Lloyd co-star Bebe Daniels as an associate producer. Roach was the first Hollywood producer to go to an all-color production schedule, making four streamliners 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 series such as The Stu Erwin Show, Steve Donovan, Western Marshal, Racket Squad, The Public Defender, The Gale Storm Show, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and My Little Margie, and independent producers leasing the facilities for such programs as Amos 'n' Andy, The Life of Riley and The Abbott and Costello Show. By 1951, the studio was producing 1,500 hours of television programs a year, nearly three times Hollywood's annual output of feature movies. Recognizing the value of his film library, the visionary Roach began in 1943 licensing revivals of his sound-era productions for theatrical and home-movie distribution. Roach's films were also early arrivals on television. His Laurel and Hardy comedies were a smashing success in television syndication, as were the Our Gang comedies originally produced from 1927-1938, for which in 1949 Roach had bought back the rights from MGM and rebranded for television as "The Little Rascals." He thus became one of the first significant film producers to venture into television. In 1955, Roach sold his interests in the production company to his son, Hal Roach Jr., and retired from active production. Unfortunately, the younger Roach lacked much of his father's business acumen and soon lost the studio to creditors. It was finally shut down in 1961. For two more decades, Roach Sr. occasionally worked as a consultant on projects related to his past work. Extremely vigorous into an advanced age, Roach contemplated a comedy comeback at 96. In 1984, 92-year-old Roach was presented with an honorary Academy Award. Former Our Gang members Jackie Cooper and George "Spanky" McFarland made the presentation to a flattered Roach, with McFarland thanking the producer for hiring him 53 years prior. Gang member Ernie Morrison was amongst the crowd and started the standing ovation for Hal Roach. Hal Roach died in his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, from pneumonia, on November 2, 1992, at the age of 100 years. He had married twice, and had six children, eight grandchildren, and a number of great-grandchildren. Roach outlived three of his children by more than 20 years: Hal Jr. (died in 1972), Margaret (died in 1964), and Elizabeth (died in 1946). He also outlived many of the children who starred in his films. Roach is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York, where he grew up."
Source: Wikipedia.org | FindAGrave.com | Monday, July 23, 2018, 12:00AM
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