The son of the film pioneer H.B. Parkinson, Roy Henry Parkinson (born in Surbiton in 1916) grew up in the film industry. Bryan Langley taught him how to operate a camera at the age of eleven, and he learnt how to process films in the labs of R.E. Strange and Company, who printed his father's films.
However, in spite of this early training in the mechanics of film, he was more inclined towards its day-to-day organisational aspects, working his way up from third assistant director to unit production manager. While at MGM-British Studios, he worked with directors George Cukor on Edward My Son (1949), Anthony Asquith on The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964) and Michelangelo Antonioni on Blow-Up (1966). His long and distinguished career supervising and managing the production of both British and Hollywood films, continued until the mid-1980s.