Robert Wright Campbell

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Robert Wright Campbell (June 9, 1927 in Newark, New Jersey – September 21, 2000 in Monterey), often credited as R. Wright Campbell or Robert Campbell, was an American screenwriter, author and occasional actor. He was the brother of actor William Campbell and brother in law of Judith Campbell Exner.


Campbell studied painting at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, intending to be a commercial artist. He was drafted into the US Army during the Korean War. When he asked his brother William how much he earned for acting, he went to Hollywood after his discharge.[1]


Campbell began writing for anthology series such as Loretta Young Theatre.

Through his brother William, Campbell met Roger Corman for whom he wrote the screen play Five Guns West (1955), which was the first film Corman directed.

Campbell sold two original Western scripts to Universal, Gun for a Coward and Quantez. Both ended up being made with Fred MacMurray.[2]

He also sold two stories to Kirk Douglas's Bryna Productions, King Kelly about a soldier who sets himself up as a ruler in the South West after the Civil War[3] and The Allison Brothers.[4] Neither was made.

In 1956 he and his brother announced they had purchased a story about John Ashley, Requiem for an Outlaw and intended to make it independently but the film was not made.[5]

Campbell was hired to work on the screenplay Man of a Thousand Faces, the biography of Lon Chaney. The producer deliberately picked a young writer who would not be influenced by "nostalgia". The script was reworked by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts but Campbell kept his screen credit.[6] All the writers were nominated for Best Screenplay.

Campbell did a fourth script for Universal, Beneath the Roses, but it was not made.[7]

He wrote for several Warner Bros. Television shows such as Maverick, Bronco and Hawaiian Eye.

He reworked Five Guns West for Corman as The Secret Invasion. He planned to follow it with The Deserters another WW2 tale for Corman[8] but it appears to have not been made.

In 1972 he wrote Whistler for Corman, a biopic of James Abbott Whistler.[9]


Campbell left screenwriting and turned to novels after visiting Carmel, California where he moved to.[1] His first novel was The Spy Who Sat and Waited (1975).

He wrote several novels of Los Angeles that he called "La-La Land" with a hero named James Whistler in Alice in La-La Land and In La-La Land We Trust, a series of Jimmy Flannery novels beginning with The Junkyard Dog (awarded the Edgar Award and Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original) and The Cat's Meow and two Jake Hatch novels.[10][11]




  • The Spy Who Sat and Waited (1975)
  • Circus Couronne (1979)
  • The Junkyard Dog (1986)
  • In La-La Land We Trust (1986)
  • Alice in La-La Land (1987)
  • The 600-Pound Gorilla (1987)
  • Hip Deep in Alligators (1987)
  • Juice (1988)
  • Thinning the Turkey Herd (1988)
  • The Cat's Meow (1988)
  • Plugged Nickel (1988)
  • Nibbled to Death by Ducks (1989)
  • Red Cent (1989)
  • Sweet La-La Land (1990)
  • The Gift Horse's Mouth (1990)
  • Boneyards (1992)
  • In a Pig's Eye (1992)
  • The Wizard of La-La Land (1995)
  • Sauce for the Goose (1996)
  • The Lion's Share (1996)
  • Pigeon Pie (1998)


  • Wondersmith (1978)[12]
  • Quadruped (1991)

As Actor Only[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Robert W. Campbell; Author, Scriptwriter – Los Angeles Times". October 1, 2000. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  2. ^ Drama: Actor-Writer Campbell Busy Western Scripter Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 28 Oct 1955: 27.
  3. ^ FILM GROUP ADDS FINANCING SET-UP By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 15 Dec 1955: 50
  4. ^ COLUMBIA ERUPTS WITH MOVIE IDEA By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 19 Feb 1955: 18
  5. ^ 34 FILMS PLANNED BY FOX THIS YEAR By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 04 Jan 1956: 23.
  6. ^ A Town Called Hollywood: Cagney, as Chaney, Will Be 'Man of Thousand Faces' Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times 28 Oct 1956: E2.
  7. ^ Universal Buys Script New York Times 30 Aug 1956: 19
  8. ^ Menotti Opera to Be Filmed Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 31 Dec 1965: a14.
  9. ^ S-s-s-s-s . . . It's the Snakes!: It's the Snakes By A. H. WEILER. New York Times 24 Sep 1972: D15.
  10. ^ "Robert Campbell". Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  11. ^ "Bouchercon World Mystery Convention: Anthony Awards Nominees". October 2, 2003. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  12. ^ STAGE REVIEW: 'Wondersmith': Bonhomie in Bohemia Christon, Lawrence. Los Angeles Times 08 Feb 1978: f12.

External links[edit]