Pat Roach

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Pat Roach
Pat Roach.jpg
Born
Francis Patrick Roach

(1937-05-19)19 May 1937
Died17 July 2004(2004-07-17) (aged 67)
NationalityBritish
OccupationActor, wrestler, businessman,
fitness club owner, author,[1]
scrap dealer
Years active1960–2001
Notable work
See below
Height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[2][3]
TelevisionAuf Wiedersehen, Pet
Spouse(s)
Doreen Harris (m. 1957–2004)
(his death)
Children2

Francis Patrick Roach (19 May 1937 – 17 July 2004) was an English actor, and professional wrestler. During an acting career in the 1970s - 1990s he appeared in multiple cinema films, usually cast as a support player strongman villain. He appeared in the Indiana Jones cinema films; as the West Country bricklayer Brian "Bomber" Busbridge in the 1980s British television series Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, and in the role of Petty Officer Edgar Evans in the television production The Last Place on Earth.

Early life[edit]

Roach was born and brought up in Birmingham, West Midlands, the son of Francis "Frank" Roach (born 1905).[4] He was National Judo Champion in 1960, and Midland Area Black Belt Champion in 1962.[5]

Sports career[edit]

Roach boxed as an amateur,[6] before becoming professional as a protege of Jack Solomons[7]

He began his professional wrestling career under the name of "Judo" Pat Roach.[8] He was a well-known wrestler who attracted unwarranted aggression from the crowds, who assumed him to be a wrestling heel, in a similar mould to Mick McManus.[citation needed] After his acting career had taken off, he continued to wrestle under the name of "Bomber" Pat Roach, having previously been billed as "Big" Pat Roach, but now receiving affectionate cheering from the spectators. He was trained by Alf Kent, his first official wrestling match was against George Selko in 1960. Roach held both the British and European Heavyweight Wrestling Championships at one time.[citation needed]

Acting career[edit]

Roach made his acting debut as the red-bearded bouncer in the Korova Milkbar in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. He worked on another Kubrick film, Barry Lyndon, where he played a hand-to-hand brawler named 'Toole' who engages Ryan O'Neal in fist fight. Roach went on to play a number of strong-man supporting character roles in cinema films in the 1970s-1990s, including the non-speaking role of Hephaestus in Clash of the Titans alongside Laurence Olivier. He later appeared as Atlas in the story of Perseus and the Gorgon, on which 'Clash of the Titans'. He also appeared as a SPECTRE-backed assassin in the James Bond film 'Never Say Never Again', and as bandit-warlord Lord Brytag in the sword-and-sorcery film 'Red Sonja'. He appeared as the skull-helmeted 'General Kael' in the film 'Willow'; the evil wizard Thoth-Amon in Conan the Destroyer and as the Celtic chieftain in 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves'. In an alternative from playing strongman villains, in 1985 he played Petty Officer Edgar Evans in the Central TV mini-series 'The Last Place on Earth' about Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole.Roach was turned down as Darth Vader in 'Star Wars',[9] however its director, George Lucas, subsequently cast him as several burly villains in the Indiana Jones film series in the 1980s. In 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' he played two roles, the first being a giant Sherpa who fights Jones in the bar in Nepal, the second being a German Luftwaffe airman who fist-fights with Jones before being killed by an aircraft's propeller blades on the airstrip in Egypt. In the next film, 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom', Roach played a Thuggee guard in a mine who fights with Jones before being killed in a rock crusher. His final appearance in the series was as a Gestapo officer in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade', he appears only brief as the character's fight with Jones was cut because director Steven Spielberg considered the scene "too long" and served as a subplot.[10]

Roach played the character of 'Brian "Bomber" Busbridge' in the comedy-drama 'Auf Wiedersehen Pet', as a West Country bricklayer who appeared in all four of the full length series.

Personal life[edit]

Roach's grave in Bromsgrove

Pat Roach married Doreen Harris in 1957, the marriage producing a son and a daughter.[11]

Later life[edit]

In the 1990s Roach owned and managed a scrapyard in Saltley, Birmingham,[12] he also ran a gym on Gravelly Hill North, Erdington, in North-East Birmingham.

Death[edit]

Roach died on 17 July 2004 of throat cancer. His body was buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery, Worcestershire.[13]

Selected filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1971 A Clockwork Orange Milkbar bouncer Uncredited
1975 Barry Lyndon Toole - Soldier in fistfight
1979 Unidentified Flying Oddball Oaf
1980 Rising Damp Rugby player
1981 The Monster Club Great Uncle Uncredited
Raiders of the Lost Ark Giant sherpa / 1st mechanic
Clash of the Titans Hephaestus
1983 Never Say Never Again Lippe
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Chief Guard
Conan the Destroyer Man Ape / Toth-Amon
1985 Red Sonja Brytag
1988 Willow General Kael
1989 The Return of the Musketeers French executioner
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Gestapo
1990 Wings of Fame
The Big Man Billy
1991 Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Celtic chieftain
1996 The Portrait of a Lady Strongman
1997 Kull the Conqueror Zulcki
2003 Crust The Bull Final Film Role

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Premier Promotions|Premier Wrestling Federation
  • Ken Joyce Trophy (1992)

Publications[edit]

  • If (co-written childhood autobiography)
  • Pat Roach's Birmingham (2004)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WHSmith – Search for Pat Roach". Archived from the original on 8 March 2012.
  2. ^ "In Remembrance: Pat Roach". The Guardian.
  3. ^ "Pat Roach". The Independent.
  4. ^ "Roach Family Tree". Ancestry.com - pay to view.
  5. ^ "Judo at Kyrle Hall". Sports Argus. 11 November 1967. p. 8. Retrieved 1 June 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. ^ Davies, Rod (28 December 1965). "Boxing". Sports Argus. p. 2. Retrieved 1 June 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  7. ^ Arnold, Charles (1970). Mick McManus, ed. The Mick McManus Wrestling Book. Pelham Books. ISBN 0720703344.
  8. ^ "World-Wide Wrestling". Sports Argus. 2 January 1965. p. 2. Retrieved 1 June 2018 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  9. ^ Obituary for Roach. 'The Guardian', 19 July 2004. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/jul/19/broadcasting.guardianobituaries
  10. ^ The Stunts of Indiana Jones (2003; DVD). Paramount Pictures.
  11. ^ "Pat Roach". The Telegraph. July 19, 2004.
  12. ^ "Pat Roach Biography". okieshadow. Archived from the original on April 21, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nostalgia: Birmingham's Pat Roach and Auf Wiedersehen Pet". Birmingham Mail.

External links[edit]