Roth was born in New York City, the son of Lawrence Roth, a foreman at a plastics plant, and Frances Roth. Roth is of Jewish heritage. In 1959, Roth's father volunteered his son to be a plaintiff in the ACLU's effort to abolish mandatory prayer in public schools. The case, filed in New York, wound its way through the system, finally reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in 1962. The Court ruled that such prayer was unconstitutional under the First Amendment, in the landmark case of Engel v. Vitale.
Roth, who was ranked 6th in Premiere Magazine's 2003 Hollywood Power List, produced the 76th annual Academy Awards. Roth announced that in October 2007, when Revolution's distribution deal with Sony Pictures ends, Revolution Studios will close and he will join Sony as a producer.