June 14, 1957
New Mexico, United States
Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Second unit director
PhotosView All (8)
A bespectacled, hormonally charged British spy and an accident-prone male nurse helped to make producer-director Jay Roach one of the most successful comedy filmmakers in motion picture history. He made his feature debut with "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997), Mike Myers' raucous spoof of 1960s pop culture, and later helmed both of its increasingly raunchy sequels, "Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999) and "Austin Powers in Goldmember" (2002). He immediately followed these with "Meet the Parents" (2000), which delivered the improbable comedy team of Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro, as well as its sequel, "Meet the Fockers" (2004). The latter was the highest grossing comedy ever made, and paved the way for Roach to lend his talents to projects as a producer. He showed an equally golden touch in that capacity by overseeing such box office winners as "50 First Dates" (2004) and "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan: (2006). In 2008, he showed that broad comedy was not the only color in his directorial palette by helming the Emmy-winning "Recount," a dramatization of the behind-the-scenes politics in the 2000 Presidential election, followed with "Game Change" (HBO, 2012), an inside look at the 2008 presidential campaign. Roach's astounding track record, garnered over a remarkably brief period of time, showed him to be a filmmaker with an unerring knack for understanding and even developing moviegoers' tastes in 21st century comedy.Born Matthew Jay Roach in Albuquerque, NM on June 14, 1957, he graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Economics before pursuing his master's degree in filmmaking from the University of Southern California. Before earning his MFA in 1986, he directed a short film, "Asleep at the Wheel," which netted a Student Academy Award nomination. Roach got his start in professional filmmaking as a cinematographer and camera operator on low-budget efforts like "Zombie High" (1987) and "A Gnome Named Gnorm" (1990). His first credit as director came in a joint effort with writer Jesse Wells on a little-seen comedy called "Zoo Radio" in 1990. Television gave him the leverage to advance up the production ladder. He served as co-producer on the science fiction adventures series "Space Rangers" (CBS, 1993), which was canceled after just one episode, but he found greater success as the co-producer and writer of "Lifepod" (1993), a TV movie that gave a futuristic update to Alfred Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" (1944). Roach later repeated these duties on the middling feature thriller "Blown Away" (1994) with Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones.In 1997, he was tapped to direct "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997), a modestly budgeted comedy with Mike Myers as a cryogenically frozen spy from swinging London who is thawed in modern times to help defeat his old nemesis, Dr. Evil (also Myers). At once a boisterous, proudly juvenile comedy rife with hoary double entendres and a knowing spoof of James Bondesque spy cinema, "Powers" benefited greatly from Roach's grasp of 1960s cinematic tropes, including frequent cutaways to "Hullabaloo"-style musical numbers that featured his real-life wife, Bangles leader Suzanna Hoffs. The film performed well in theaters but even better on home video, which necessitated a sequel. "Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999) benefited from a bigger budget, which allowed for a Grammy-winning single by Madonna, which helped it earn over $310 million at the box office.Roach took a break from the "Powers" franchise to direct "Mystery, Alaska" (1999), a more genteel comedy with Hollywood newcomer Russell Crowe as the sheriff of a small town in the 50th State that organizes a hockey team to take on the visiting New York Rangers. Despite its stellar cast, which included Hank Azaria, Burt Reynolds and Mary McCormick, it failed to connect with audiences. Roach then returned to the broader comedy style of his "