Roger Radcliffe (or Roger Dearly in the original book, live-action version and TV series) is a character from Disney's 1961 animated feature film, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and its sequel. He is the husband of Anita and owner, best friend, and "pet" to Pongo.
Roger is Anita Radcliffe's husband and a songwriter. At the beginning of the original film, Roger is a bachelor songwriter, who lives in a small bachelor flat with Pongo. He works from home, usually not quitting work until after 5:00, and is described by Pongo as being married to his work. As a songwriter, he is very creative, and can easily write lyrics when given proper inspiration. However, it is only at Pongo's insistence that Roger meets Anita, as Roger would have stayed a bachelor forever according to Pongo.
After his marriage, he is shown to be a kind man who cares for his family, including his pets. Roger is not afraid to stand up against Cruella when his family is involved. A scene near the end of the film shows that he is good at mental math, as he is able to tally up the number of Dalmatians fairly easily.
Roger is based on the character of Mr. Dearly from the original book The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. In the book, Mr. Dearly plays a similar role to Roger but is a financial wizard rather than a songwriter.
At the beginning of the film, Roger is seen working on a song. Pongo, having grown bored with their bachelor lives, conspires to set his pet up with a girl. After seeing Anita and Perdita, Pongo decides they would be perfect, as they were both beautiful. Pongo sets the clock ahead so that Roger believes that it is time for their walk. Roger is then forcefully dragged along as Pongo attempts to get Roger and Anita to meet. Eventually, Roger and Anita end up in the pond of the park, entangled by the leashes of their dogs. Roger attempts to apologize to the upset Anita, and blaming Pongo for making her wet, but the two end up laughing. A time skip shows that Roger and Anita fall in love and marry, and the two settle in a small house near the park with Pongo, Perdita, and Nanny.
- “Cruella De Vil! Cruella De Vil! If she doesn't scare you! No evil thing will!”
- ―Roger sassing Cruella in song
Sometime later, Roger is writing a new song but has only managed to get the melody written. He gains inspiration for lyrics after hearing the name of Cruella De Vil, Anita's former classmate. While Anita visits with her "friend," Roger writes a mocking song, relating the name to many frightening images. Three weeks later, Perdita is preparing to give birth to puppies. Roger is shown to be just as nervous as Pongo during the process, such that he jumps when Pongo licks his hand. He is initially overjoyed at the prospect of 15 puppies but saddens after hearing that one died. However, Roger is able to revive the puppy by rubbing it. When Cruella returns, intent on buying all the puppies, she mocks Roger’s song, which annoys him. Roger nervously but defiantly stands up firm to her, informing Cruella that they will never sell the puppies for any price. Refusing to take no for an answer, Cruella is angered to the point that she storms off, threatening to get even. However, both Anita and Nanny calls him a hero for standing up to the devil woman.
One night, Roger and Anita take Pongo and Perdita out for a walk in the park. While they are gone, the puppies are stolen by Jasper and Horace Badun, hired hands working for Cruella. Roger is shown to be saddened by the theft. He is among those that believe Cruella is guilty of being involved in the theft, but neither he nor the police are able to connect her to the crime. When asked by Anita about what they will do now, he just stays silent, and they give up all hope of finding the puppies.
That same night, while on their usual walk in Primrose Hill, Roger becomes annoyed at Pongo's constant barking and forcefully drags him home, unaware that Pongo was actually passing the message of the puppies' theft through the Twilight Barking Chain. It is possible that Roger punishes Pongo inside the house for disturbing the whole neighborhood, but Pongo’s message is already spread across London as the Great Dane named Danny receives the message in Hampstead, along with Scottie and they send the message to their friend Towser who then sents it to the Colonel.
Like Anita and Nanny, Roger is not seen again until the end of the film, around Christmastime, wondering why Pongo and Perdita ran away (unknown to him, they went to rescue the puppies). After hearing his Cruella song on the radio, he turns it off. Anita reveals that the song became Roger's first big hit, and brought in more money than they could dream of. When a group of "Labradors" come bursting into the home, Roger is confused, but he quickly realizes that they are actually Pongo, Perdita, and the puppies. Roger soon realizes that there are more than 15 puppies, and as Anita and Nanny find puppies, he adds up the totals to reveal that there are 101 Dalmatians altogether. Together with Anita, he decides to use the royalties from his songwriting to buy a country home big enough to keep all the puppies.
Roger reappears in the sequel, still as a songwriter, alongside still being mentioned in Pongo's narration as his pet, and is also ready to move out of their London flat to a new farm. He is first shown packing up for their move to their new country home when seeing the spots from numerous puppies inspires him to write a new song Seeing Spots. Anita asks if he is packing or playing, and they dancing together as he sings.
The next day, moving day, he is packing up the puppies and the dogs into the trunk of the moving van, believing that they have all the puppies. (Unknown to them, Patch was left behind, his barks not heard through the window). Upon arriving to their new home, Cherry Tree Farm, Roger is brings his piano into the farmhouse, asking Anita and Nanny where will the music go. The piano falls from the floor into the basement, startling them.
Later on, he's in his music room alongside Pongo and the puppies when in the laundry, a newspaper is shown, showing that they left Patch in London. Roger, Anita, Pongo, and Perdita go to find him, leaving Nanny behind to care for the puppies. At the end of the film, Roger reunites with the puppies (as they had been stolen by Jasper and Horace) after finding them in London. During the film credits, Roger is mentioned in the Music Times newspaper, stating that he had hit gold, winning an award for his song, Seeing Spots.
Roger appears in the series along with Anita and Nanny. This version of Roger is a combination of the musician version from the animated movie and his game-developer version from the live-action film, as he is shown working in both professions. He's also depicted with brown hair instead of blond. He is always aware of Cruella's evil schemes to get him to give up the farm.
Since it is set sixty years after the original film, Roger doesn't make a physical appearance throughout the series, and it is unknown what happened to him since the original.
However, some of Roger's clothing can be seen in numerous episodes. In the episode "London, We Have a Problem", both he and Anita can be seen on their Wedding Photo alongside their wedding partners, Pongo and Perdita, when Doug grabs a vial containing a sample of Cruella's hair.
Roger made a small cameo appearance as a New York citizen at the beginning of the 1988 Disney animated movie, Oliver & Company. He and Anita also made a few appearances in the animated series House of Mouse, in crowd shots.
In the series finale of At Home With Olaf, a short clip of One Hundred and One Dalmatians featuring Roger appears during a montage of heartwarming moments from Disney films playing in Olaf's song "I Am With You".
In the live-action remake of 101 Dalmatians, Roger's last name is changed to "Dearly" (which was his last name in the original book), and he is the human protagonist. Here, he is an American citizen, but he lives in a British flat with Pongo. Instead of a musician, he is a video game maker and tests how good the game is through his greatest friend/boss's son Herbert.
Roger's a bachelor, and he can't afford a vehicle but uses his bicycle as transportation. He lives in a one-room apartment home with Pongo, who has a mind like a human but cannot speak English. The news breaks out that one of the rare Siberian tigers was stolen from the zoo and nobody has seen any trace of it.
Roger first meets Anita by accident. When Pongo sees Anita's Dalmatian, Perdita, he falls in love instantly. When Roger prepares to go back home, Pongo runs so fast after Perdita, dragging Roger dangerously through the streets on his bike. While Roger screams in fear, Pongo's actions cause car pile-ups on the roads and eventually the leash snaps apart, causing Roger to crash his bike into a lake. A furious, injured Roger follows Pongo without a shoe and on his wrecked bike. However, he confuses Perdita to be Pongo and leashes Perdita, but is in return struck by Anita's purse full of bricks, causing his body to fully be injured. Eventually, they clear up the misunderstanding (and Roger takes the opportunity to remark that thanks to Anita, he "now got the complete set of bodily injuries"). But as they prepare to part, Perdita drags Anita just as Pongo did to Roger hinting their love. Eventually, both dogs and Anita and Roger marry and move to a small house near the park while hiring Anita's childhood nanny as a maid.
One day, Anita's boss, Cruella De Vil, visits them to introduce herself to Roger. Initially, Roger is pleased to meet her, but Roger's respect for Cruella slowly drains out into anger and frustration when Cruella spends the visit mocking Anita for starting a family, boasting about her wealth, her sarcastic sense of humor, and mocking Roger's career as a video game maker. Cruella learns that Perdita is giving birth to puppies in a few months and vows to come back.
Indeed, Cruella returns when the puppies are born. Before she arrives, one puppy nearly dies from an unmentioned infant issue, but Roger uses a CPR method to save its life and names the puppy "Lucky." When Cruella returns, she's insane with her obsession for furs. She immediately offers to purchase the puppies when learning that the spots will form in a few weeks. However, Roger angrily refuses to sell them no matter what, even if she offers them any amount of money. Anita tries to keep her relationship with Cruella by claiming that they do not mean immediately, but she ultimately gains the courage to stand up against Cruella and agree that they are not for sale. A furious Cruella leaves, firing Anita from her fur factory and vowing revenge.
A few months later, the puppies finally get their spots. While Roger and Anita go on a date, taking Pongo and Perdita with them, two bandits named Horace and Jasper break into the house, restrain Nanny, and lock her in a closet. The bandits then steal the puppies and drive off. Roger and Anita figure out what happened when they return (when they hear the Pensioner's bulldog barking angrily at Horace and Jasper and is the witness), realizing the puppies were unprotected and call the Metropolitan Police. Unlike the 1961 movie, however, Roger and Anita do not suspect Cruella immediately, and Anita does not refuse to investigate Cruella for their relationship.
The next morning, Pongo and Perdita flee the house in the eyes of Roger and Anita when a message from the other dogs informs them where the puppies are. This time, Roger and Anita are unable to stop them and are now worried about their two Dalmatians. They also ask the police to set up a police chase for Pongo and Perdita.
After 3 days, Anita and Roger finally figure out who the mastermind of the dognapping is through Anita's quick thinking. Anita reveals to Roger and the Metropolitan Police that when she worked for Cruella as a fur coat designer, she made a design of a Dalmatian coat for fun and that Cruella has stolen the puppies hoping to kill them and make a spotted fur coat out of them. The Dearlys go to Cruella's London residence with the police where they connect Cruella both to the dognapping and to other unsolved animal-related crimes, such as the missing Siberian tiger from the London Zoo. The two sadly hug, regretting going out for a date with Pongo and Perdita instead of staying home to keep an eye on the puppies. The constable in charge tells Anita that her suspicions were justified and that Cruella is in Suffolk. He assures them that he's also already alerted the Suffolk Constabulary to find her and the puppies.
Not long afterward, the police find the 99 Dalmatian puppies, Pongo and Perdita in a village in the outskirts of London. They also manage to find and arrest Cruella, and her henchmen Jasper, Horace, and Skinner. Roger and Anita decide to adopt all the 84 puppies, leaving them with a total of 101 Dalmatians. When Roger reads the paper and hears that the criminals have been convicted of the crimes, including their puppies' thefts, he gets inspired and makes a new video game of Dalmatian puppies fleeing from Cruella, who is the antagonist/boss of the game. The game is a worldwide success, and Roger is now a billionaire and father to a baby girl. Roger uses his money to buy a giant mansion and barn on the outskirts of London.
Roger appears in the movie played by Kayvan Novak making the character Iranian-British. He is the Baroness' personal and clumsy lawyer who is berated by her in the first half of the film. She mentions that he has a side job as a piano player in a bar. When Cruella's schemes become too much, the Baroness angrily fires Roger. Cruella explains in narration that he always blamed her for this. At the end of the movie, Roger receives a gift from Cruella in the form of a Dalmatian puppy named Pongo; possibly intended as an apology for getting him fired. Inspired by her name, he proceeds to write and perform her famous song.
- In the novel, the surname of the Dalmatians' humans is "Dearly", but was changed to Radcliffe for the animated film; most likely because Disney has a number of families in previous films with similar names, such as the Darlings from Peter Pan and Jim Dear from Lady and the Tramp. Their surnames return to being Dearly in the live-action films and 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
- In the first animated film, Roger shares the same speaking voice actor with Grimsby in The Little Mermaid, known as Ben Wright, but his singing voice is done by Bill Lee of the Mellomen.
- Both of Roger's original voice actors participated in the movie version of The Sound of Music with Wright portraying Herr Zeller (meaning "Mr. Zeller" in German) and Lee dubbing over Christopher Plummer's singing as Captain Von Trapp.
- Hugh Grant was considered to play Roger for the live-action remake of the film before Jeff Daniels was cast as Roger instead.
- In the animated films, Roger is a habitual smoker, regularly seen smoking a pipe in addition to his home at the start of the film being littered with used cigarettes. This trait was removed in the live-action film and animated series due to censorship, though Lucky and Anita do mention that Roger did smoke a pipe in the animated series.
- He and Anita told Cruella in the 1996 remake that the puppies weren't for sale. However, they seemed to have later changed their minds since it is implied in 102 Dalmatians that they did sell Dipstick to Chloe Simon.
- Unlike most of the franchise, Roger has grown a beard in Cruella.
- According to Disneystrology, his birthday is May 27.