Roy Brooks: Harold Lloyd’s Right Hand

Roy Brooks (1901-76) was a friend of Harold Lloyd’s leading lady (and later wife) Mildred Davis. Well off and well educated he stood an impressive 6’4″, towering over most other people he encountered. Several sources state that he was gay, and that the Lloyds were tolerant of this aspect of his identity, a rare attitude at the time. Brooks hailed from Tacoma, Washington.

Shortly after Mildred began co-starring in Lloyd’s films, Brooks began appearing in many of them as well, in bit parts. These include Bumping Into Broadway (1919), His Royal Slyness (1920), An Eastern Westerner (1920), High and Dizzy (1920), Get Out and Get Under (1920), Number Please (1920), Now or Never (1921), I Do (1921), Never Weaken (1921), Grandma’s Boy (1922), Safety Last (1923) and The Freshman (1925). He also supported several other Hal Roach comedians in shorts, including Eddie Boland, Snub Pollard, James Parrott, Our Gang, and Stan Laurel (pre-Hardy). Brooks was in 27 movies from 1919 to 1925.

But Brooks played a much more vital role in the Lloyd operation as the great comedy star’s personal secretary. He wrote and sent Lloyd’s correspondence, kept his calendar and so forth, while living in an apartment over the garage over the Lloyd estate. He also acted as companion to Mrs. Lloyd after her retirement from films. Brooks was in the service of the Lloyds for decades, until Mildred’s death in 1967.

For more on silent film comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.