Harold was born in 1893 to Sarah E. Fraser and James Darsie Lloyd in Nebraska. When he was quite young, his parents got divorced after his father tried his luck in different failed business attempts. He moved to San Diego with his father after the divorce. Although he had acted in different theaters while he was still a child, his exposure to the life in California gave him the opportunity to work in one-reel films that had a comedic background. His participation in films increased after he was hired as an extra by Universal. He became friends with Hal Roach, who was an aspiring filmmaker, and they began working together on various projects after Roach had his studio. Although it is said that most of their collaborations were related to the work of Charlie Chaplin’s films, Harold had his stand too as he released more films than Charlie did and hence made more money overall. During these collaborations in 1914, Lloyd hired Bebe Daniels, and they got involved romantically. The relationship lasted till 1919 when she left him for her career .
He got involved with Mildred Davis the same year and a few years later, in 1923, they got married. He had two children with her, Gloria Lloyd and Harold Clayton Lloyd Jr. and they adopted another child, Gloria Freeman, whom they later renamed as Marjorie E. Lloyd. Harold Jr., according to some sources, was gay, and he took it positively. However, his life was quite short since he died of a stroke months after his father’s death. Lloyd kept back Mildred from acting, and when he somehow changed his decision, it was too late for her career to begin again. His work life was mostly controlled by him. During the beginning of his career, he did characters that were based upon the 1920s version of the U.S. and hence was loved by the people. It fitted well with reality. One of his most famous characters is ‘’Glasses’’ in which he is seen wearing lens-less glasses with a horn-rimmed frame with normal clothes. The change in his look was made after Roach suggested that Lloyd was too handsome for a comedic character. This change was taken positively by the audience since the things he did resonate well with them. It made his actions more believable.
He portrayed people of all sorts of social standards through the character. In 1919, he faced a mishap when he mistook a prop bomb for a smoke pot. It exploded in his hands and did severe damage to his index finger and a thumb and burnt several body parts. After losing a finger and a thumb, he began using prosthetic gloves which were sometimes visible on screen but covered the less number of fingers nevertheless. After doing several successful short feature films, he took the next step of moving forward to full-length feature films with Roach. With movies like Grandma’s Boy and ‘’Why Worry?’’, ‘’Safety Last!’’ guaranteed his position in the industry. ‘’Safety Last!’’ is in the List of 100 Most Thrilling Movies, given by the American Film Institute and is the oldest film to be on the list. After many successful ventures, he began the filmmaking journey on his own in 1924. He started producing his films independently. He also became one of the founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. After the Great Depression, his movies resonated less and less with the audience. The frequency of his film releases decreased and so did his popularity. The characters that he played in his career did not suit the reality that the Great Depression brought with it. After the decline in his popularity, he sold the land on which his studio, Harold Lloyd Motion Picture Company, was built to a church.
In 1994, he became the host and director of an NBC radio series called The Old Gold Comedy Theater, which presented radio-versions of famous comedy films. The show ended the following year. Along with being a successful actor, he was good at heart too. He was always involved with churches and charities, and after his demand had declined, he remained interested and associated with different hospitals, churches, charities, etc. Even though his acting career ended, he was still famous in the industry when he became a nude photographer for people like
, Bettie Page, etc. after studying photograph and microscopy. For his inputs as a good citizen and for being a wonderful actor, he received the Academy Honorary Award in 1953. He died of prostate cancer in 1971 in California. He had two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was even honored by having his image on a postage stamp in the U.S.