Bruce Campbell

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Bruce Campbell
Bruce Campbell 2014 Phoenix Comicon (cropped).jpg
Campbell at the 2014 Phoenix Comicon
Bruce Lorne Campbell[1]

(1958-06-22) June 22, 1958 (age 64)
EducationWestern Michigan University
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1976–present
  • Christine Deveau
    (m. 1983; div. 1989)
  • Ida Gearon
    (m. 1991)

Bruce Lorne Campbell[1] (born June 22, 1958) is an American actor and director. He is known for portraying Ash Williams in Sam Raimi's Evil Dead franchise, beginning with the 1978 short film Within the Woods. He has starred in many low-budget cult films such as Crimewave (1985), Maniac Cop (1988), Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat (1989), and Bubba Ho-Tep (2002).

In television, Campbell had lead roles in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993–1994) and Jack of All Trades (2000), and a recurring role as Autolycus, King of Thieves, in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess (1995–1999). He played Sam Axe on the USA Network series Burn Notice (2007–2013) and reprised his role as Ash Williams on the Starz series Ash vs. Evil Dead (2015–2018).[2]

Campbell started his directing career with Fanalysis (2002) and A Community Speaks (2004), and then with the horror comedy feature films Man with the Screaming Brain (2005) and My Name Is Bruce (2007), the latter being a spoof of his career. He can also be seen as the role of the father in The Escort (2015).

Early life[edit]

Campbell was born in Royal Oak, Michigan,[3] to Joanne Louise (née Pickens), a homemaker, and Charles Newton Campbell, who worked in advertising for 35 years in roles ranging from traveling billboard inspector to company vice-president, later teaching at nine colleges as an adjunct professor, and was also an actor and director in local theater.[4]

Campbell has an older brother, Don, and an older half-brother, Michael Rendine.[5] He is of Scottish and English descent.[1]


Early years[edit]

Campbell signing a VHS copy of The Evil Dead at a fan meet-and-greet

Campbell began acting as a teenager and soon began making short Super 8 movies with friends. After he met Sam Raimi in Wylie E. Groves High School, the two became very good friends and started making movies together. Campbell would go on to attend Western Michigan University while he continued to work on his acting career.[6] Campbell and Raimi collaborated on a 30-minute Super 8 version of the first Evil Dead film, titled Within the Woods, which was initially used to attract investors.[7]

Major film roles[edit]

A few years later, Campbell and Raimi got together with family and friends and began work on The Evil Dead. While starring in the lead role, Campbell also worked behind the camera, receiving a "co-executive producer" credit. Raimi wrote, directed and edited, while fellow Michigander Rob Tapert was producer. Following an endorsement by horror writer Stephen King, the film slowly began to receive distribution.[8] Four years following its original release, it became the number one movie in the UK. It then received distribution in the United States, spawning two sequels: Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.[9]

Campbell was also drawn in the Marvel Zombie comics as his character, Ash Williams. He is featured in five comics, all in the series Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness. In them, he fights alongside the Marvel heroes against the heroes and people who have turned into zombies (deadites) while in search of the Necronomicon (Book of the Names of the Dead).[10] Campbell also played as Coach Bummer in the movie “Sky High”.

He has appeared in many of Raimi's films outside of the Evil Dead series, notably having cameo appearances in the director's Spider-Man film series.[11] Campbell also joined the cast in Raimi's Darkman[12] and The Quick and the Dead, though having no actual screen time in the latter film's theatrical cut.[13] In March 2022, Campbell was announced to have a cameo in Raimi's Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.[14]

Campbell at WonderCon in 2013

Campbell often takes on quirky roles, such as Elvis Presley in the film Bubba Ho-Tep.[15] Along with Bubba Ho-Tep, he played a supporting role in Maniac Cop and Maniac Cop 2, and spoofed his career in the self-directed My Name is Bruce.[16]

Other mainstream films for Campbell include supporting or featured roles in the Coen Brothers film The Hudsucker Proxy, the Michael Crichton adaptation Congo, the film version of McHale's Navy, Escape From L.A. (the sequel to John Carpenter's Escape From New York), the Jim Carrey drama The Majestic and the 2005 Disney film Sky High.[17]

Campbell had a starring voice role in the hit 2009 animated adaptation of the children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and a supporting voice role in Pixar's Cars 2.[18]

Campbell produced the remake of The Evil Dead, along with Raimi and Rob Tapert. Campbell appeared with the expectation he would reprise that role in Army of Darkness 2.[19] He later worked as an executive producer for the 2023 film, Evil Dead Rise.[20]

Television roles[edit]

Outside of film, Campbell has appeared in a number of television series. He starred in The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. a boisterous science fiction comedy western created by Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse that ran for one season.[21] He played a lawyer turned bounty hunter who was trying to hunt down John Bly, the man who killed his father. He starred in the television series Jack of All Trades, set on a fictional island occupied by the French in 1801. Campbell was also credited as co-executive producer, among others. The show was directed by Eric Gruendemann, and was produced by various people, including Sam Raimi.[22] The show aired for two seasons, from 2000 to 2001. He had a recurring role as "Bill Church Jr." based upon the character of Morgan Edge from the Superman comics on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.[23]

From 1996 to 1997, Campbell was a recurring guest star on the show Ellen as Ed Billik, who becomes Ellen's boss when she sells her bookstore in season four.[24]

He is also known for his supporting role as the recurring character Autolycus ("King of Thieves") on both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, which reunited him with producer Rob Tapert.[25] Campbell played Hercules/Xena series producer Tapert in two episodes of Hercules set in the present.[26] He directed a number of episodes of Hercules and Xena, including the Hercules series finale.[27]

Campbell also landed the lead role of race car driver Hank Cooper in the Disney made-for-television remake of The Love Bug.[28]

Campbell made a critically acclaimed dramatic guest role as a grief-stricken detective seeking revenge for his father's murder in a two-part episode of the fourth season of Homicide: Life on the Street. Campbell later played the part of a bigamous demon in The X-Files episode "Terms of Endearment".[29] He also starred as Agent Jackman in the episode "Witch Way Now?" of the WB series Charmed, as well as playing a state police officer in an episode of the short-lived series American Gothic titled "Meet the Beetles".

Campbell co-starred on the television series Burn Notice, which aired from 2007 to 2013 on USA Network. He portrayed Sam Axe, a beer-chugging, former Navy SEAL now working as an unlicensed private investigator and occasional mercenary with his old friend Michael Westen, the show's main character. When working undercover, his character frequently used the alias Chuck Finley, which Bruce later revealed was the name of one of his father's old co-workers.[30] Campbell was the star of a 2011 Burn Notice made-for-television prequel focusing on Sam's Navy SEAL career, titled Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe.[31]

In 2014, Campbell played Santa Claus in an episode of The Librarians. Campbell played Ronald Reagan in season 2 of the FX original series Fargo. More recently Campbell reprised his role as Ashley "Ash" Williams in Ash vs Evil Dead, a series based upon the Evil Dead franchise that launched his career. Ash vs Evil Dead began airing on Starz on October 31, 2015, and was renewed by the cable channel for second[32] and third seasons,[33] before being cancelled.[34]

In January 2019, Travel Channel announced a reboot of the Ripley's Believe It or Not! reality series, with Bruce Campbell serving as host and executive producer. The 10-episode season debuted on June 9, 2019.[35]

Voice acting[edit]

Campbell is featured as a voice actor in several video game titles. He provides the voice of Ash in the three games based on the Evil Dead film series: Evil Dead: Hail to the King, Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick and Evil Dead: Regeneration.[36] He also provided voice talent in other titles such as Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man,[37] and Dead by Daylight.[38]

He provided the voice of main character Jake Logan in the PC title, Tachyon: The Fringe, the voice of main character Jake Burton in the PlayStation game Broken Helix and the voice of Magnanimous in Megas XLR. Campbell voiced the pulp adventurer Lobster Johnson in Hellboy: The Science of Evil and has done voice-over work for the Codemaster's game Hei$t, a game which was announced on January 28, 2010 to have been "terminated". He also provided the voice of The Mayor in the 2009 film Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, the voice of Rod "Torque" Redline in Cars 2 and the voice of Fugax in the 2006 film The Ant Bully.[37]

Despite the inclusion of his character "Ash Williams" in Telltale Games' Poker Night 2, Danny Webber voices the character in the game, instead of Bruce Campbell.[39]

He has a voice in the online MOBA game, Tome: Immortal Arena in 2014.[40] Campbell also provided voice-over and motion capture for Sgt. Lennox in the Exo Zombies mode of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.[41]


In addition to acting and occasionally directing, Campbell has become a writer, starting with an autobiography, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor, published in June 2001.[42] The autobiography was a successful New York Times Best Seller.[43] The paperback version of the book adds a chapter about the reaction of fans at book signings.

"Whenever I do mainstream stuff, I think they're pseudo-interested, but they're still interested in seeing weirdo, offbeat stuff, and that's what I'm attracted to".

If Chins Could Kill follows Campbell's career to date as an actor in low-budget films and television, providing his insight into "Blue-Collar Hollywood".[42]

Campbell's next book, Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way was published on May 26, 2005. The book's plot involves Bruce (depicted in a comical way) as the main character struggling to make it into the world of A-list movies.[44] He later recorded an audio play adaptation of Make Love with fellow Michigan actors, including longtime collaborator Ted Raimi. This radio drama was released through the independent label Rykodisc and spans 6 discs with a 6-hour running time.

In addition to his books, Campbell also wrote a column for X-Ray Magazine in 2001, an issue of the popular comic series The Hire, and comic book adaptations of his Man with the Screaming Brain. Most recently he wrote the introduction to Josh Becker's The Complete Guide to Low-Budget Feature Filmmaking.

In late 2016, Campbell announced that he would be releasing a third book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor, which will detail his life from where If Chins Could Kill left off. Hail to the Chin was released in August 2017, and accompanied by a book tour across the United States and Europe.[45]

Campbell maintained a blog on his official website, where he posted mainly about politics and the film industry.[46] The blog has since been discontinued.

Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival[edit]

Since 2014, the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival, narrated and organized by Campbell, was held in the Muvico Theater in Rosemont, Illinois. The first festival had its original run from August 21 to 25, 2014, presented by Wizard World, as part of the Chicago Comicon.[47] The second festival ran from August 20 to 23, 2015, with guests Tom Holland and Eli Roth.[48] The third festival took place over four days in August 2016.[49] Guests of the event were Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Doug Benson.[50]

Personal life[edit]

Campbell's first wife was Christine Deveau, whom he married in 1983. They had two children, and divorced in 1989. Campbell currently lives in Jacksonville, Oregon, with his second wife, costume designer Ida Gearon, whom he met on the set of the movie Mindwarp.[51] He is also an ordained pastor and has performed marriage ceremonies.[52]


Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Film Role Director Notes
1977 It's Murder! Cop on Bicycle Sam Raimi
1978 Within the Woods Bruce Sam Raimi Short film; also executive producer
Shemp Eats the Moon Shemp Malone John Cameron Short film; also producer
1979 Attack of the Helping Hand The Hamburger Helper Helping Hand / The Pillsbury Doughboy Scott Spiegel Uncredited roles
Short film; also cinematographer
1980 The Blind Waiter The Blind Waiter Josh Becker and Scott Spiegel Uncredited role
Short film
1981 The Evil Dead Ash Williams Sam Raimi Also executive producer
1982 Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter Cleveland Smith Josh Becker Short film
Blood Simple investor trailer Julian Marty Joel and Ethan Coen Short film
1983 Going Back Brice Chapman Ron Teachworth
1985 Crimewave Renaldo 'The Heel' Sam Raimi Also co-producer
Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except Video newscaster Josh Becker Uncredited cameo
Also story writer
1987 Evil Dead II Ash Williams Sam Raimi Also co-producer
1988 Maniac Cop Jack Forrest William Lustig
1989 Intruder Officer Howard Scott Spiegel
Moontrap Ray Tanner Robert Dyke
Easy Wheels David O'Malley Producer
The Dead Next Door J.R. Bookwalter Voices
1990 Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat Robert Van Helsing Anthony Hickox
Maniac Cop 2 Jack Forrest William Lustig
Darkman Final Shemp Sam Raimi Cameo
1991 Lunatics: A Love Story Ray Josh Becker Also producer
1992 Eddie Presley Asylum Attendant Jeff Burr Cameo
Waxwork II: Lost in Time John Loftmore Anthony Hickox
Mindwarp Stover Steve Barnett
The Nutt House Adam Rifkin Writer
Army of Darkness Ash Williams Sam Raimi Also co-producer
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Smitty Joel and Ethan Coen
1995 Congo Charles Travis Frank Marshall
The Quick and the Dead Wedding Shemp Sam Raimi Deleted scene
The Demolitionist Raffle Winner Robert Kurtzman Uncredited cameo
1996 Fargo Soap opera actor on TV Joel and Ethan Coen Uncredited cameo
Escape from L.A. Surgeon General of Beverly Hills John Carpenter
1997 In the Line of Duty: Blaze of Glory Jeff Erickson Dick Lowry
Menno's Mind Mick Dourif Jon Kroll
Running Time Carl Josh Becker
McHale's Navy Virgil Bryan Spicer
1998 The Ice Rink Actor Jean-Philippe Toussaint
1999 From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money Barry Scott Spiegel Direct-to-DVD
2000 Icebreaker Carl Greig David Giancola
Timequest William Roberts Robert Dyke
2001 Hubert's Brain Thompson Phil Robinson Voice
Short film
The Majestic Roland the Intrepid Explorer Frank Darabont Cameo
2002 Spider-Man Ring Announcer Sam Raimi Cameo
Hatred of a Minute Michael Kallio Producer
Bubba Ho-Tep Elvis Presley Don Coscarelli
Serving Sara Gordon Moore Reginald Hudlin
Fanalysis Himself Himself Documentary; also producer
2003 Drugs Bruce Chad Peter Direct-to-DVD
Intolerable Cruelty Soap opera actor on TV Joel and Ethan Coen Uncredited cameo
2004 The Ladykillers Humane Society Worker Joel and Ethan Coen Uncredited cameo
Comic Book: The Movie Himself Mark Hamill Direct-to-DVD
A Community Speaks Himself Himself & Ida Gearon Documentary; also producer and editor
Spider-Man 2 Snooty Usher Sam Raimi Cameo
2005 Man with the Screaming Brain William Cole Himself Also writer and producer
Sky High Tommy Boomowski / Coach Boomer / Sonic Boom Mike Mitchell
2006 The Woods Joe Fasulo Lucky McKee
The Ant Bully Fugax John A. Davis Voice
2007 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters Chicken Bittle Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis Voice
Spider-Man 3 Maître d' Sam Raimi Cameo
My Name Is Bruce Faux Bruce Campbell Himself Also producer
2009 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Mayor Shelbourne Phil Lord and Chris Miller Voice
White on Rice Muramoto Dave Boyle Voice
2011 Cars 2 Rod "Torque" Redline John Lasseter and Brad Lewis Voice
2012 The Color of Time Goody Various
2013 Oz the Great and Powerful Winkie Guard Sam Raimi Cameo
Evil Dead Ash Williams Fede Álvarez Uncredited cameo; also producer
2015 The Escort Charles Cooper Will Slocombe
2021 Black Friday! Jonathan Casey Tebo Also producer
18½ President Richard Nixon Dan Mirvish Voice
2022 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Pizza Poppa guy Sam Raimi Cameo[14]
2023 Evil Dead Rise Not yet released Lee Cronin Executive producer[20]
TBA Highly FunctionalNot yet released Chili Youngfield Marc Forby Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Generations Alan Stuart Soap opera
1987 Knots Landing Joel Benson Episode: "Say Uncle"
1993–1994 The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Brisco County, Jr. 27 episodes
1995 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Bill Church Jr. 3 episodes
American Gothic Lt. Drey Episode: "Meet the Beetles"
1995–1999 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Autolycus 10 episodes; also directed 7 episodes
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street Jake Rodzinsky Episodes: "Justice Parts 1 & 2"
Tornado! Jake Thorne Television film
Assault on Dome 4 Alex Windham Television film
1996–1997 Ellen Ed Billik 7 episodes
1996–1999 Xena: Warrior Princess Autolycus 8 episodes; also directed 2 episodes
1997 Weird Science Gene the Genie Episode: "I Dream of Gene"
The Love Bug Hank Cooper Television film
Goldrush: A Real Life Alaskan Adventure Pierce Thomas 'PT' Madison
1998 Timecop Agent Tommy Maddox Episode: "The Future, Jack, the Future"
1998–1999 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Rob Tapert 2 episodes
1999 The X-Files Wayne Weinsider Episode: "Terms of Endearment"
2000 Jack of All Trades Jack Stiles / Daring Dragoon 22 episodes; also co-executive producer
2001 Beggars and Choosers Jack 2 episodes
The Legend of Tarzan Max Liebling (voice) Episode: "Tarzan and One Punch Mullargan"
2002 Charmed FBI Agent Woody Jackman Episode: "Witch Way Now? [hu]"
Terminal Invasion Jack Television film
2003 Duck Dodgers Pork Piggler (voice) Episode: "K-9 Kaddy/Pig of Action"
My Life as a Teenage Robot Himcules (voice) Episode: "Daydream Believer/This Time with Feeling"
2004 Megas XLR Magnanimous (voice) 2 episodes
2005 Alien Apocalypse Dr. Ivan Hood Television film
2006 Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! Captain Shuggazoom (voice) 2 episodes
Touch the Top of the World Ed Weihenmayer Television film
Robot Chicken Himself / Red Power Ranger / Car Chase Reporter (voices) Episode: "Dragon Nuts"
2006–2009 The Replacements Phil Mygrave / Gordo Glideright (voices) 6 episodes
2007 El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera The Industrialist (voice) Episode: "Burrito's Little Helper/Crouching Tigre, Hidden Dragon"
2007–2013 Burn Notice Sam Axe 111 episodes
2011 Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe Sam Axe Television film; also executive producer
2013 1600 Penn Doug Gilchrist Episode: "Skip the Tour"
2014 Psych Dr. Ashford N. Simpson Episode: "A Nightmare on State Street"
The Librarians Santa Claus Episode: "And Santas Midnight Run"
2015 Fargo Ronald Reagan[53] 2 episodes
Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja The Creep (voice) Episode; "Ball's Well That Friend's Well"
2015–2018 Ash vs Evil Dead Ash Williams 30 episodes; also executive producer[54]
2018–2020 Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure King Edmund (voice) 7 episodes
2018 Lodge 49 Gary Green 3 episodes
2019 Ripley's Believe It or Not! Himself (host) 10 episodes; also executive producer
2020–2021 The Last Kids on Earth Chef (voice) 11 episodes
2021 Adopted John Voss Unaired pilot
A.P. Bio John Griffin Episode: "Tons of Rue"
Archer McGinley (voice) Episode: "Dingo, Baby, et Cetera"
One December Night Steve Bedford Television film

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Broken Helix Jake Burton
1998 Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle Pitfall Harry Jr
2000 Tachyon: The Fringe Protagonist
Evil Dead: Hail to the King Ash Williams
2002 Spider-Man Tutorial Narrator
2003 Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick Ash Williams
2004 Spider-Man 2 Tutorial Narrator
2005 Evil Dead: Regeneration Ash Williams
2006 The Ant Bully Fugax
2007 Spider-Man 3 Tutorial Narrator
2011 Army of Darkness: Defense Ash Williams Game Closed
Cars 2 Rod "Torque" Redline
2012 The Amazing Spider-Man The Extreme Reporter
2014 TOME: Immortal Arena Tutorial Narrator Game Closed
2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Lennox Exo Zombies DLC
2019 Dead by Daylight Ash Williams Ash VS Evil Dead DLC
2022 Evil Dead: The Game Ash Williams [55]


Year Award Category Title Result
1993 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actor Army of Darkness Won
2003 DVD Exclusive Award Best Audio Commentary (Limited Edition) The Evil Dead Nominated
The Comedy Festival Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Actor Bubba Ho-Tep Won
2004 Chlotrudis Award Best Actor Nominated
Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actor Won
2005 Fantasporto Film Festival International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor Won
2007 Ashland Independent Film Festival Rogue Award Won
2010 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Burn Notice Nominated
2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best Actor on Television Ash vs Evil Dead Won
Saturn Awards Best Actor on Television Won
2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Award Best TV Actor Won
Saturn Awards Best Actor on a Television Series Nominated
2018 Nominated

See also[edit]

  • Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way (ISBN 0-312-31260-1)


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External links[edit]