Pat Roach

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Pat Roach
Pat Roach.jpg
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
Occupation Actor, wrestler, businessman,
fitness club owner, author,[1]
scrap dealer
Years active 1960–2001
Notable work See below
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[2][3]
Television Auf Wiedersehen, Pet
Doreen Harris (m. 1957–2004)
(his death)
Children 2

Francis Patrick 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 supporting roles of henchmen in the Indiana Jones films.

Early life[edit]

Pat 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]



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


Roach began wrestling under the name of "Judo" Pat Roach.[8] He was a well-known wrestler who attracted unwarranted from the crowds who assumed him to be a 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 had success by 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. Also roles were 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.

While Roach was turned down as Darth Vader in Star Wars,[9] George Lucas subsequently cast him 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, allowing Roach to be killed twice in the same film. 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. There are also rumours that he played the gong striker and the Thuggee assassin in the same film, but this has not been confirmed. 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 because director Steven Spielberg considered the scene "too long" and served as a subplot.[10] The fourth film in the series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was produced after Roach's death, so Igor Jijikine was cast in the role of Colonel Antonin Dovchenko, a character who paid tribute to Roach's earlier roles in the series.

Roach is 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 of the full length series, but did not appear in the final 2 part mini series, as he died prior to filming.

Later life and death[edit]

Roach's grave in Bromsgrove

Roach married Doreen Harris in 1957; He had one son and a daughter.[11]

In the late 1980s Roach played American football for the Birmingham Bulls.[12]

During the 1990s Roach had a scrapyard in Saltley, Birmingham.[13] Pat also ran a gym on Gravelly Hill North, Erdington, north east Birmingham.

Roach died on 17 July 2004 of throat cancer. He is buried in Bromsgrove Cemetery, Worcestershire[14] (Cemetery Extension, section B).

Selected filmography[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Ken Joyce Trophy (1992)


  1. ^ "WHSmith – Search for Pat Roach". Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "In Remembrance: Pat Roach". 
  3. ^ "Pat Roach". 
  4. ^ "Roach Family Tree". - 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. ^ Purser, Philip (19 July 2004). "Obituary: Pat Roach". the Guardian. 
  10. ^ The Stunts of Indiana Jones (2003; DVD). Paramount Pictures.
  11. ^ "Pat Roach". The Telegraph. July 19, 2004. 
  12. ^ "British TV British Audience". Chicago Tribune. 27 July 1986. 
  13. ^ "Pat Roach Biography". okieshadow. Archived from the original on April 21, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  14. ^ "find a grave: Pat Roach". 

External links[edit]