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|Born||Eugene Harrison Roche
September 22, 1928
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||July 28, 2004
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation||Character actor, commercial pitchman|
Roche was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Mary M. (née Finnegan) and Robert F. Roche, who was at the time serving in the U.S. Navy. Roche served in the United States Army after graduating high school. He was the father of nine children including actors Eamonn Roche, Liam Roche, Chad Roche, Brogan Roche, and Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Sean Roche. Roche died in Los Angeles, California from a heart attack, aged 75.
Roche made his Broadway debut in 1961 as a bit player in the play Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole with Darren McGavin and went on to act in Mother Courage with Anne Bancroft in 1963 and The White House with Helen Hayes in 1964. In Hollywood, Roche would go on to appear in myriad supporting character roles, both dramatic and comedic, that would define his acting career.
Television comedy would become his forte with recurring roles on Soap as Jessica Tate's lovelorn attorney, Night Court as Christine Sullivan's overbearing father, and Perfect Strangers as Larry Appleton's boss. He also had choice support parts on film, including The Late Show (1977) starring Art Carney and Lily Tomlin, Foul Play (1978) starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, and Corvette Summer (1978) starring Mark Hamill and Annie Potts.
Roche played supporting actor in two episodes of Kojak. The first as accountant Seymore Haywood in Acts of Desperate Men and the second as Detective 'Sandy' Beach in Out of the Frying Pan.
Roche was also known on Airwolf as United States Senator William Dietz in the pilot episode "Shadow of the Hawke" and as a drunken friend of Dominic Santini's named Eddie in the episode "Firestorm" in season 2. He also had a recurring role in five Magnum, P.I. episodes as the lovable but pain in the neck, Luther Gillis, a gumshoe from St. Louis, with an old school attitude.
Roche also appeared as practical joker "Pinky Peterson", one of Archie Bunker's buddies, on the hit CBS-TV series All in the Family. In a memorable Christmas Day episode, "The Draft Dodger" (Episode 146, 1976), Pinky, whose son was killed in the Vietnam War, has Christmas dinner with the Bunkers and an acquaintance of Mike and Gloria, David Brewster (portrayed by actor Renny Temple), who was a draft evader living in Canada at that time. Archie angrily confronted David over this and treated him harshly. Pinky calmly and respectfully disagreed with Archie's opinion and defended David. He felt it would be an honor to have dinner with David, and believed his son would have felt the same. Roche reprised the role in other All in the Family episodes the next few seasons.
- Dancing at the Harvest Moon (2002) ... as Gil Finnigan
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1997) "Honey, We've Been Swallowed By Grandpa" ... as Grandpa Matthew Murdock
- Executive Decision (1996) ... as Admiral Lewis
- When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) ... as Walter
- Roswell (1994) (TV movie) ... as James Forrestal
- A Friend to Die For (1994) ... The Priest
- Julie (1992) ... as Wooley
- The Last Halloween (1991)
- Lenny (1990) ... as Pat
- Perfect Strangers (1987–1988) ... as Harry Burns
- Take Five (1987) ... as Max Davis
- Night Court (1984–1988) ... as Jack Sullivan
- Airwolf (1984) ... as Senator William Dietz (Shadow of the Hawke), Eddie (Firestorm)
- Webster (1984–1986) ... as Bill Parker
- Oh, God! You Devil (1984) ... as Charlie Gray
- Magnum, P.I. (1983 - 1988) "Luther Gillis: File #521" ... as Luther Gillis
- Miracle on Ice (1981) (TV movie) ... as Don Craig
- Good Time Harry (1980) ... as Jimmy Hughes
- The Ghost of Flight 401 (1978)....as Andrews
- Corvette Summer (1978) ... as Ed McGrath
- The New Maverick (1978) ... as Austin Crupper
- Foul Play (1978) ... as Archbishop Thorncrest
- Soap (1977–1981) ... as E. Ronald Mallu, Esq.
- The Late Show (1977) ... as Ronnie Birdwell
- Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (1977) "The Nomads" ... as Langston
- All in the Family (1976–1978) ... as Pinky Petersen
- Mr. Ricco (1975) ... as Detective George Cronyn
- Kojak (1975) "Out of the Frying Pan" ... as Detective 'Sandy' Beach
- Kojak (1975) "Acts of Desperate Men" ... as Seymour Haywood
- W (1974) ... as Charles Jasper
- Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) ... as Edgar Derby
- Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) ... as Anderson
- Eugene Roche, Actor, 75, In TV and Film - obituary in the New York Times (2004-7-31)
- Tom Vallance: Eugene Rocke - obituary in the Independent (2004-8-4)
- Myrna Oliver: Eugene Roche, 75; Character Actor in Films, Television - obituary in the Los Angeles Times (2004-8-2)
- Eugene Roche at the Internet Movie Database
- Eugene Roche at the Internet Broadway Database
- Eugene Roche at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- Eugene Roche's profile at Industry Central Website