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Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (9) | Personal Quotes (1) | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 7 September 1902Crab Orchard, Nebraska, USA
Date of Death 28 November 1969Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (cancer)
Birth NameHoward Clifford Ravenscroft
Nickname Big Roy
Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m)

Mini Bio (2)

After serving in World War I, Roy Barcroft spent most of the 1920s and early 1930s moving from job to job. It was in the 1930s, after he moved to California with his wife, that he found his calling while acting in amateur theatrical productions. In 1937 he was appearing in bit parts in various genres, but by 1938 he was in westerns, where he became a well-known (and memorable) "heavy". Roy would alternate among Monogram, Universal, Columbia and other studios. In 1943, however, he signed an exclusive ten-year contract with Republic Pictures and became the convincing, and tireless, menace to all the good people in the West. He also did more than sneer at the likes of Don 'Red' Barry, Bill Elliot, Sunset Carson and Allan Lane. Roy acted in The Fighting Seabees (1944), which starred John Wayne. He was the Purple Martian in The Purple Monster Strikes (1945) and Capt. Mephisto in Manhunt of Mystery Island (1945), and who can forget his Retik, The Moon Menace. from the classic Radar Men from the Moon (1952)? Roy even played the good-natured marshal in Oklahoma! (1955). It was westerns, though, that were his bread and butter, and he knocked out a lot of them over the years. Outlaws of Cherokee Trail (1941), Riders of the Rio Grande (1943) and Sun Valley Cyclone (1946) were but a few of the "B" westerns Roy turned out. Off-screen, he was known as one of the nicest, kindest and most helpful people anyone would want to meet, with a terrific sense of humor. More than once, many a leading hero type such as Barry or Elliot would find that their hairpieces would mysteriously disappear before they were to put them on prior to shooting. When the era of the "B" westerns started to fade out, Roy's volume of work also slowed. He appeared in a handful of films, but his movie career had stalled by the end of 1957. He moved into the small screen with roles in TV westerns and also a recurring role in the Walt Disney production of The Adventures of Spin and Marty (1955). In the early 1960s he worked in a couple of movies, but his resurgence began in the mid-'60s when he appeared in low-budget films like Billy the Kid Versus Dracula (1966). Roy would make some better films, such as Texas Across the River (1966) and The Reivers (1969).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana < tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Incredibly prolific American character actor of low-budget Westerns and serials, most frequently seen as a villain. He was born in either Weeping Waters, Nebraska or Crab Orchard, Nebraska, depending on the source (the two towns are within a few miles of each other), to a farm family. In 1917, he joined the Army at the age of 15 and was wounded in action in France. At 16, he began traveling the U.S. doing odd jobs as a ranch hand, roughneck, and railway laborer. He sailed to the Mediterranean on a freighter as a seaman, then reenlisted in the Army. While stationed in Hawaii, he learned to play a number of musical instruments and afterwards made his living playing in dance bands. In 1929, he took his family to California, where his military background gained him work as a soldier-extra in films. Uninterested in movies, he continued doing various jobs, from salesman to tunnel digger. As a sales tool, he took up dramatics to improve his speaking voice and in 1937 was spotted in a little theatre production and given a part in a Republic serial, SOS Coast Guard (1937). His rough voice and demeanor were perfect for the 'heavy' roles that filled every B-Western and action picture, and Barcroft spent the next thirty years averaging an incredible ten films per year. He found a minor kind of stardom as the title villain in several Republic serials of the 1940s, and spent his later years playing more bad guys on television Westerns. He died of cancer at the Motion Picture Country Hospital in 1969. Barcroft had three children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (2)

Vera Thompson (1932 - ?)
Hortense Flanagan (1930 - 1930)

Trivia (9)

Barcroft patterned his screen persona after Harry Woods, one of the movies' greatest villains. He even tried to imitate Woods' voice. Barcroft's on-screen voice was different from the one he always used when in front of the camera. (Revealed by his friend Clayton Moore in his autobiography, "I Was That Masked Man")
Considerable confusion exists concerning Barcroft's birthplace. Most sources cite Weeping Water, Texas, USA, while others cite Crab Orchard Nebraska, USA. However, Weeping Water, Texas does not exist. But Weeping Water, Nebraska, is quite near Crab Orchard, Nebraska, and it is likely that Barcroft was born in Weeping Water, Nebraska, USA, and raised in nearby Crab Orchard, Nebraska.
He had created such an indelible image as a western heavy that in the late 1960s, interviewers would express surprise at finding what a charming and friendly man he really was.
During his years as a freelance, Barcroft became such an asset as the villain in low-budget westerns that in 1943 Republic signed him to an exclusive ten-year contract.
Barcroft claimed that his favorite role was as the reincarnated pirate Captain Mephisto in the non-western Republic serial Manhunt of Mystery Island (1945). Also among his favorites were the serials The Purple Monster Strikes (1945) and Haunted Harbor (1944).
Barcroft was such a fixture in low-budget westerns that as soon as his face appeared on screen, every kid in the audience knew who the bad guy was. Of course, it took the good guy 60 minutes to figure it out.
Although Barcroft's birth name is usually given as Howard Clifford Ravenscroft, both the California Death Index and the 1910, 1920, and 1930 U.S. Census list him as Howard H. Ravenscroft.
At age 15 he lied about his age to enlist in the US Army during World War I. He was sent to France and was wounded in action a year later, being sent home and discharged at age 16.
He served two hitches in the US Army, from 1915-1918 (he was wounded in action in World War I and was discharged) and from 1923-1926. After the stock-market crash of 1929, he traveled to California with his family, looking for work. In 1931 he heard of a movie studio that was looking for well-disciplined ex-soldiers as extras in a film, and because of his military past was hired to play a soldier in the Greta Garbo film Mata Hari (1931), beginning his long and extensive acting career.

Personal Quotes (1)

Everything I know about being a bad guy I learned from [classic "heavy"] Harry Woods.

Salary (1)

SOS Coast Guard (1937) $66 per week

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