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Joe Roth

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Joe Roth
Roth in December 2016
Joseph Emanuel Roth

(1948-06-13) June 13, 1948 (age 75)[1]
  • Film producer
  • film director
  • studio executive
Years active1974–present
(m. 1980; div. 2004)
Irene Oh
(m. 2006)

Joseph Emanuel Roth (born June 13, 1948)[2][1] is an American film executive, producer and director. He co-founded Morgan Creek Entertainment in 1988 and was chairman of 20th Century Fox (1989–1993), Caravan Pictures (1993–1994), and Walt Disney Studios (1994–2000) before founding Revolution Studios in 2000, then Roth/Kirschenbaum Films in 2007.

Early life[edit]

Roth was born on June 13, 1948[1] to Frances and Lawrence Roth.[3] He has stated that his Jewish family faced various forms of harassment growing up in a heavily Catholic part of Long Island, New York. This involved incidents like "a cross being burned on the lawn and some of Roth's schoolmates crossed themselves before they would speak to him."[4] 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, went through several appeals, 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.[5]

Roth attended Boston University, graduating in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in communication.[2]


Over the course of his career, he has produced over 40 films, and has directed six to date, including 1990's Coupe de Ville, 2001's America's Sweethearts and 2006's Freedomland.

In 1988 by Roth and James Robinson co-founded Morgan Creek Entertainment.[6] The name came from Roth's favorite film, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek.[7] The company had box-office hits including Young Guns and Major League.

In 1989, Roth became chairman of 20th Century Fox, who were very successful under him, including hits Home Alone, Die Hard 2 and White Men Can't Jump. His contract expired in July 1992 but he agreed to stay on as Fox Inc. chairman Barry Diller had quit earlier in the year. He later announced in November 1992 that he was leaving Fox to set up an independent production company at The Walt Disney Studios.[8][9]

In 1992, he co-founded Caravan Pictures with Roger Birnbaum, which had a production deal with The Walt Disney Studios. Roth moved on to be Disney studio chief on August 24, 1994.[10] Disney CEO Michael Eisner was so set on replacing Jeffrey Katzenberg as Disney studio chief with Roth that he forgave the $15 million cost overrun debt for I Love Trouble and paid Roth $40 million of fees for 21 unproduced films under the deal.[11]

Roth, who was ranked 6th in Premiere Magazine's 2003 Hollywood Power List, produced the 76th annual Academy Awards. Roth announced in October 2007 that, when Revolution's distribution deal with Sony Pictures ended, that he would depart from Revolution Studios to form his own production company, Roth Films.

On November 13, 2007, Roth was introduced as the majority owner of a Seattle, Washington–based Major League Soccer franchise along with Paul Allen. Seattle Sounders FC—which calls Lumen Field home—began regular season play in 2009. On November 12, 2015, Roth passed on majority ownership to Adrian Hanauer.

Personal life[edit]

Roth was married to Donna Arkoff whose father was movie producer Samuel Z. Arkoff.[12] They have three children.

The family resided in the Dolores del Río House, designed by architect Douglas Honnold for Irish production designer Cedric Gibbons and Mexican actress Dolores del Río in 1929 in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California.[13] In 2021, Roth paid $23 million for a 5,514 sq ft (512.3 m2), 1960s Midcentury home designed by Dan Dworsky and renovated by Waldo Fernandez in Beverly Hills.[14]




Executive producer



Miscellaneous crew
Year Film Role Notes
1974 The Conversation Production assistant
1988 Young Guns Presenter
Dead Ringers
1990 The Exorcist III
As an actor
Year Film Role Notes
1976 Tunnel Vision Player-Announcer
1977 Cracking Up Man
Production manager
Year Film Role Notes
1998 Armageddon Executive in charge of production
Year Film Role
1995 Dead Presidents Special thanks
2002 Punch-Drunk Love
Gangs of New York
2009 Bandslam Thanks



Year Title Notes
2004 76th Academy Awards Television special

Executive producer

Year Title Notes
2007 Demons TV movie
2011 Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza
2010–12 Are We There Yet?
2012–14 Anger Management
2019 This Is Football Documentary
2020 The Plot Against America
2021 Panic
Production manager
Year Title Role
2011 SpongeBob SquarePants Executive in charge of production
Year Title Role Notes
1990 American Masters Special thanks Documentary
2020 The Last Dance


  1. ^ a b c "Joe Roth". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 11, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "B.U. Bridge". October 27, 2003.
  3. ^ New York Civil Liberties Union: "Obituary: Steven Engel, Plaintiff in Landmark School Prayer Case" February 6, 2008
  4. ^ Masters, Kim (November 14, 2013). "Joe Roth's 'Third Act': From 'Gigli' to Billion-Dollar Producer and Pro Soccer Superstar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 6, 2021.
  5. ^ Hammer, Joshua. "The Sly Dog at Fox". Newsweek, May 25, 1992.
  6. ^ Masters, Kim (November 14, 2013). "Joe Roth's 'Third Act': From 'Gigli' to Billion-Dollar Producer and Pro Soccer Superstar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  7. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (April 25, 1989). "Producer Defies Rules, and Succeeds". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  8. ^ Brown, Corie (November 1992). "Who Needs This?". Premiere. p. 22.
  9. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (November 3, 1992). "Joe Roth Leaving For a Deal With Disney". The New York Times. p. C13. Retrieved May 19, 2023.
  10. ^ "Seasoned Performer Takes Lead Studio Role". Orlando Sentinel. Los Angeles Times. August 28, 1994. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Masters, Kim (November 14, 2013). "Joe Roth's 'Third Act': From 'Gigli' to Billion-Dollar Producer and Pro Soccer Superstar". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  12. ^ New York Times: "Samuel Z. Arkoff, Maker of Drive-In Thrillers, Dies at 83" By ALJEAN HARMETZ September 19, 2001
  13. ^ Brown, Patricia Leigh (February 29, 2008). "A Moderne Masterpiece Revived". Architectural Digest. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  14. ^ Jack Flemming (October 12, 2021), ‘F9’ producer Joe Roth drops $23 million for a Beverly Hills Midcentury Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]