Lloyd, born in Burchard, Nebraska, started acting in one-reel film comedies in 1912 in San Diego, California. Lloyd soon began working with Thomas Edison's motion picture company, Universal, and eventually ended up with Hal Roach. Lloyd was a founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Lloyd married his leading lady, Mildred Davis, in February of 1923, with whom he had two children; Gloria, born in 1923, and Harold, born in 1931. They also adopted Peggy in 1930. Lloyd's home, "GreenAcres" has 44 rooms, 26 bathrooms, 12 fountains, 12 gardens and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lloyd was involved with early color film experiments. Some of the earliest 2-color Technicolor tests were shot at his Beverly Hills home.
Lloyd's autobiography, An American Comedy, was published in 1928.
In 1952 Lloyd produced two compilation films, featuring scenes from his old comedies, Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy and The Funny Side of Life (1953). The films ignited a renewed interest in Lloyd's work.
Lloyd was the subject of a television documentary series, Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (following similar documentaries about the other two geniuses of the silent movies, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton).
The documentary revealed that many of Lloyd's high-altitude stunts were performed on dummy buildings above the entrance to a road tunnel. Lloyd was usually about 20 feet above the ground, but the camera was positioned so that the top of the tunnel was out of shot, and in perspective Lloyd appeared to be hanging above the lower road about a hundred feet below.