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Eugene Roche

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Years active  1961–2004
Name  Eugene Roche
Role  Actor

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Full Name  Eugene Harrison Roche
Born  September 22, 1928 (1928-09-22) Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation  Character actor, commercial pitchman
Died  July 28, 2004, Los Angeles, California, United States
Spouse  Anntoni C. Bratman (m. 1982–2004), Marjory Perkins (m. 1953–1981)
Children  Eamonn Roche, Sean Roche, Brogan Roche
Parents  Robert F. Roche, Mary M. Roche
Movies  Slaughterhouse‑Five, Corvette Summer, When a Man Loves a Woman, Foul Play, The Late Show
Similar People  Eamonn Roche, Sean Roche, George Roy Hill, Matthew Robbins, Paul Bogart

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Eugene Harrison Roche (September 22, 1928 – July 28, 2004) was an American actor. He was probably best known as the original "Ajax Man" in 1970s television commercials.


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Ajax Dishwashing Liquid Commercial (1977)

Personal life

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Roche was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Mary M. (née Finnegan) and Robert F. Roche, who was at the time serving in the U.S. Navy. He served in the United States Army after graduating from high school.

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He married Marjory Perkins in 1953; the couple had nine children, including actor Eamonn Roche and Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Sean Roche. They divorced in 1981. Eugene Roche remarried in 1982 and remained married to his second wife, Anntoni C. Roche (née Bratman), until his death in 2004.


Eugene Roche Roche

Roche made his Broadway debut in 1961 as a bit player in the play Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole with Darren McGavin and went on to appear in Mother Courage with Anne Bancroft in 1963, and in The White House with Helen Hayes in 1964. Television comedy would become his forte with recurring roles on Soap, Night Court, Webster, and Perfect Strangers. Roche appeared as "Pinky Peterson", one of Archie Bunker's buddies, on several episodes of All in the Family, in mostly comedic episodes. He had supporting parts in such feature films as The Late Show (1977), Foul Play (1978), and Corvette Summer (1978).

Roche did play dramatic supporting roles as well, often playing deceptively ordinary men who are shown to be capable of ruthlessness, menacing violence or disturbing perversity. In Murder, She Wrote, he played a very bad cop who attempts to kill off Jessica Fletcher, and as a criminal mastermind posing as a Catholic bishop in the film Foul Play. He appeared in two episodes of Kojak. In 1977, he appeared in "Never Con a Killer" (the pilot episode for The Feather and Father Gang).

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He made two appearances on Airwolf (once as United States Senator William Dietz in the pilot episode "Shadow of the Hawke", and again as Eddie in the episode "Firestorm" in season 2). Roche appeared in five episodes of Magnum, P.I. as Luther Gillis, a sometimes brutal private eye from St. Louis, Missouri.


Roche died in an Encino, California hospital from a heart attack, aged 75.


  • Dancing at the Harvest Moon (2002) ... as Gil Finnigan
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1997) "Honey, We've Been Swallowed By Grandpa" ... as Grandpa Matthew Murdock
  • Executive Decision (1996) ... as Admiral Lewis
  • When a Man Loves a Woman (1994) ... as Walter
  • Roswell (1994) (TV movie) ... as James Forrestal
  • A Friend to Die For (1994) ... The Priest
  • Julie (1992) ... as Wooley
  • The Last Halloween (1991)
  • Lenny (1990) ... as Pat
  • Perfect Strangers (1987–1988) ... as Harry Burns
  • Take Five (1987) ... as Max Davis
  • Night Court (1984–1988) ... as Jack Sullivan
  • Hardcastle and McCormick (1985) ... s03 e04 ... as Joseph Allen Murphy
  • Airwolf (1984) ... as Senator William Dietz (Shadow of the Hawke), Eddie (Firestorm)
  • Webster (1984–1986) ... as Bill Parker
  • Oh, God! You Devil (1984) ... as Charlie Gray
  • Off Sides (Pigs vs. Freaks) (1984) ... as Chief Frank Brockmeyer
  • Magnum, P.I. (1983 - 1988) "Luther Gillis: File #521" ... as Luther Gillis
  • Miracle on Ice (1981) (TV movie) ... as Don Craig
  • Rape and Marriage: The Rideout Case (1980) ... as Gary Gortmaker
  • Good Time Harry (1980) ... as Jimmy Hughes
  • The Ghost of Flight 401 (1978) Andrews
  • Corvette Summer (1978) ... as Ed McGrath
  • The New Maverick (1978) ... as Austin Crupper
  • Foul Play (1978) ... as Archbishop Thorncrest
  • Soap (1977–1981) ... as E. Ronald Mallu, Esq.
  • The Late Show (1977) ... as Ronnie Birdwell
  • Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected (1977) "The Nomads" ... as Langston
  • All in the Family (1976–1978) ... as Pinky Petersen
  • The Streets of San Francisco (1976) ... Charlie Springer
  • Mr. Ricco (1975) ... as Detective George Cronyn
  • Kojak (1975) "Out of the Frying Pan" ... as Detective 'Sandy' Beach
  • Kojak (1975) "Acts of Desperate Men" ... as Seymour Haywood
  • W (1974) ... as Charles Jasper
  • Newman's Law (1974) ... as Reardon
  • Crawlspace (1972) ... as Sheriff Emil Birge
  • Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) ... as Edgar Derby
  • Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) ... as Anderson
  • References

    Eugene Roche Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Eamonn Roche
    George Roy Hill
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