The Margaret Roach Centennial

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the natal day of actress Margaret Roach (1921-1964). Margaret was the daughter of silent comedy mogul Hal Roach and silent film actress Marguerite Nichols.

Unlike her brother, the better remembered Hal Roach, Jr, Margaret was not encouraged to step into her dad’s, or even her mom’s, footsteps. But she went for it anyway, singing in nightclubs as a teenager, and breaking into films with a small role in Laurel and Hardy’s Swiss Miss (1938). She accumulated a total of 18 screen credits over the next decade. Subsequent films at her dad’s studio included Captain Fury (1939), Turnabout (1940), Road Show (1941), Niagara Falls (1941), All American Co-Ed (1941), Miss Polly (1941), Flying With Music (1942), and Taxi, Mister (1943). She also had a small role in Cecil B. De Mille’s Union Pacific (1939), and appeared in other films for MGM, Paramount, Universal and Monogram, as well as Laurel and Hardy’s A-Haunting We Will Go (1942) for Fox.

In 1942 she married actor Ed Hinton, most of whose 90 screen credits occur after his divorce from Roach three years later. Roach then went on western star Bob Livingston in 1947 and proceeded to appear in three more pictures: Here Comes Trouble (1948) with William Tracy and Joe Sawyer for her dad, followed by two exploitation films Test Tube Babies (1948) and The Devil’s Sleep (1949) with Lita Grey Chaplin. In 1949 her son Addison Randall was born. (He later went on to become a writer and actor). Livingston divorced her in 1951 and she slid into a life of heavy drinking, which eventually killed her in 1964 at the age of 43.

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