Pat Roach

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Pat Roach
Pat Roach.
Born Francis Patrick Roach
(1937-05-19)19 May 1937
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
Died 17 July 2004(2004-07-17) (aged 67)
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England
Cause of death Throat cancer
Nationality British
Ethnicity White British
Occupation Actor, wrestler, businessman,
fitness club owner, author,[1]
scrap dealer
Years active 1960–2004
Notable work See below
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[2][3]
Television Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
Spouse(s) Doreen Harris (m. 1957–2004) (his death)
Children Melanie (daughter), Mark (son)

Francis Patrick "Pat" Roach (19 May 1937 – 17 July 2004) was an English actor, professional wrestler and author. He was known for his roles as West Country bricklayer Brian "Bomber" Busbridge in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, General Kael in Willow, and his numerous supporting roles in the Indiana Jones films.

Early life

Francis Patrick "Pat" Roach was born and brought up in Birmingham, West Midlands, the son of Frank Roach (born 1905).[4]



Before Roach broke into acting, he was a well-known wrestler who attracted unwarranted abuse from the crowds who wrongly assumed him to be a typical wrestling heel in a similar mould to the likes of 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 and his first official wrestling match was against George Selko in 1960. Roach held both the British and European Heavyweight Wrestling Championships.[citation needed]


He made his acting debut as the red-bearded bouncer in the Korova Milkbar in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange in 1971. Roach and Kubrick reunited for Barry Lyndon; Pat portrayed a hand-to-hand brawler named Toole, who engages Ryan O'Neal (as the title character) in bare-knuckle combat. Roach enjoyed considerable success via being typecast as muscle-bound supporting characters; these included the non-speaking role of Hephaestus in Clash of the Titans alongside Laurence Olivier (coincidentally, he later appeared as Atlas on "Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths" in the story of Perseus and the Gorgon, on which Clash of the Titans was based), a SPECTRE-backed assassin in Never Say Never Again, and as bandit-warlord Lord Brytag in the sword-and-sorcery yarn Red Sonja. (The last two films pitted him against Sean Connery and Brigitte Nielsen, respectively, in mortal combat; Roach's character was defeated in both encounters). Perhaps most notable were his roles as the skull-helmeted General Kael in Willow,the evil wizard Thoth-Amon and Man Ape in Conan the Destroyer and as the Celtic chieftain in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves alongside Alan Rickman. More sympathetically, 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 appeared as several burly villains in the Indiana Jones series in the 1980s. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Roach played two roles. He first played the Giant Sherpa who fights Jones in the bar in Nepal, and later played the shaven-headed German mechanic who eagerly boxes with Jones before being killed by propeller blades on the airstrip in Egypt. In the next film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Roach plays the gigantic Thuggee overseer who fights with Jones before being pulled in to a rock crusher. His final appearance in the series was as a Gestapo officer in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; however, he appears only briefly, as the character's fight with Jones was cut.[5] The fourth film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was produced after Roach's death, but he was as an inspiration for the character Colonel Dovchenko, played by Russian actor Igor Jijikine.

Roach is best known to TV audiences as Brian "Bomber" Busbridge in the ITV/BBC comedy-drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, the West Country bricklayer who appeared in all four series but died before the final special was completed.

Later life and death

Roach's grave in Bromsgrove

Roach married Doreen Harris in 1957; they had one son and one daughter.[6]

In the late 1980s, Roach played American football for the Birmingham Bulls.[7]

During the 1990s, Roach had a scrapyard in Black Patch, Handsworth Birmingham.[8]

Roach died on 17 July 2004 of throat cancer. Harrison Ford telephoned his widow, Doreen, prior to the funeral service, which was held in Bromsgrove, Worcs.[9] He is buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery, Worcestershire[10] (Cemetery Extension, section B).

Selected filmography

Championships and accomplishments

  • Ken Joyce Trophy (1992)


  1. "WHSmith – Search for Pat Roach".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "In Remembrance: Pat Roach".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Pat Roach".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Roach Family Tree". - pay to view.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. The Stunts of Indiana Jones (2003; DVD). Paramount Pictures.
  6. "Pat Roach". The Telegraph. July 19, 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "British TV British Audience". Chicago Tribune. 27 July 1986.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Pat Roach Biography". okieshadow. Retrieved June 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Co-stars remember Pet actor Pat". BBC News. 1 August 2004.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "find a grave: Pat Roach".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links