Harold Eugene "Hal" Roach, Sr. tried gold prospecting before becoming a bit player in Hollywood (1912).
He befriended Harold Lloyd and directed and produced Just Nuts (1915), in which Lloyd starred, then formed the Hal Roach Studio (1919) and went on to produce other Lloyd comedies such as Safety Last (1923).
In the 1920s and '30s he produced thousands of comedy shorts, winning Academy Awards for The Music Box (1932) and Bored of Education (1936).
In addition to producing the Will Rogers films and the "Our Gang" shorts, he teamed Laurel and Hardy in their films together, including Leave 'em Laughing (1928) and Way Out West (1937). Other successes include such films as Topper (1937) and Of Mice and Men (1939).
He ranks with Mack Sennett as a creator of inspired chaos in the early Hollywood comic style.