Roy Rowland (film director)

Roy Rowland (December 31, 1910 – June 29, 1995) was an American film director. The New York-born director helmed a number of films in the 1950s and 1960s including Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, Meet Me in Las Vegas, Rogue Cop, The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T and The Girl Hunters.[1] Rowland married Ruth Cummings, the niece of Louis B. Mayer and sister of Jack Cummings (MGM producer/director). They had one son, Steve Rowland, born in 1932, who later became a music producer in the UK, and has recently published his memoir Hollywood Heat.


Early Life

Roy Rowland was born in Brooklyn, the son of Russian immigrants. The family moved to Edendale, California, when Roy was ten.

He studied law at the University of Southern California. [2]

He began working as a prop man, grip and assistant cameraman.

In 1927 he met Ruth Cummings at the Santa Monica Beach Club. She was the niece of Louis B. Mayer and the sister of producer Jack Cummings. Her family disapproved of Rowlands so they eloped. This resulted in Rowland being blacklisted. But Ruth Cummings arranged a rapproachment with Mayer.[3]

He was assistant director on most of the Tarzan films, starring Johnny Weismuller in the 1930s.[3]

Short films

Rowland made his reputation directing short films, notably some starring Robert Benchley. One of them, How to Sleep (1937) won an Academy Award.


Rowland's debut feature was A Stranger in Town (1943).

He made three films with the child actress Margaret O'Brien Lost Angel (1943), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945) and Tenth Avenue Angel (1948).

He did musicals such as Hit the Deck (1955), Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956) and The Seven Hills of Rome (1957). He also made The 5,000 Fingers of Dr T (1953), from a story by Dr Seus. [4]

He directed Many Rivers to Cross with Robert Taylor[5] and Gun Glory (1957) with Stewart Granger and Rowland's son Steve.[6]

He was survived by his wife Ruth and their son.[3]

Partial filmography


  1. All Movie biography
  2. Making movies in the shadows Obituary: Roy Rowland Bergan, Ronald. The Guardian 3 Aug 1995: 011.
  3. Roy Rowland;Obituary The Times; London (UK) [London (UK)]29 July 1995: 1.
  4. Doctors, Dentists Can Bolster Business by Adopting TV Ways Ames, Walter. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]24 Jan 1954: D11.
  5. MOVIELAND BRIEFS Los Angeles Times 21 May 1954: A6.
  6. Rowland Finally Gets Break With Father Los Angeles Times 26 Oct 1956: 27.

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