Roy Roberts

Active - 1943 - 2004  |   Born - Mar 19, 1906   |   Died - May 28, 1975   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Western, Action, Crime

Share on

Biography by Hal Erickson

Tall, silver-maned character actor Roy Roberts began his film career as a 20th Century-Fox contractee in 1943. Nearly always cast in roles of well-tailored authority, Roberts was most effective when conveying smug villainy. As a hotel desk clerk in Gentleman's Agreement (1947), he suavely but smarmily refused to allow Jews to check into his establishment; nineteen years later, Roberts was back behind the desk and up to his old tricks, patronizingly barring a black couple from signing the register in Hotel (1966). As the forties drew to a close, Roberts figured into two of the key film noirs of the era; he was the carnival owner who opined that down-at-heels Tyrone Power had sunk so low because "he reached too high" at the end of Nightmare Alley (1947), while in 1948's He Walked By Night, Roberts enjoyed one of his few sympathetic roles as a psycho-hunting plainclothesman. And in the 3-D classic House of Wax, Roberts played the crooked business partner of Vincent Price, whose impulsive decision to burn down Price's wax museum has horrible consequences. With the role of bombastic Captain Huxley on the popular Gale Storm TV series Oh, Susanna (1956-1960), Gordon inaugurated his dignified-foil period. He later played long-suffering executive types on The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and The Lucy Show. Roy Roberts last appeared on screen as the mayor in Roman Polanski's Chinatown (1974).

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography