Robert Tapert

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Robert Tapert
Rob Tapert.JPG
Rob Tapert speaking at SPADA 2010
Born (1955-05-14) May 14, 1955 (age 67)
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationFilm and television producer, screenwriter, television director
(m. 1998)

Robert Gerard Tapert (born May 14, 1955) is an American film and television producer, writer and director, best known for co-creating the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.

He is also one of the founding partners of the film production companies Renaissance Pictures and Ghost House Pictures.

Personal life[edit]

Tapert has two sisters, Dorothy and Mary Beth Tapert. He also has a younger brother, Jeff Tapert. He has been married to actress Lucy Lawless since 28 March 1998; the couple has two sons. Lawless played the title character in Xena: Warrior Princess.


Tapert first became involved with filmmaking while attending Michigan State University where he was studying economics. Through his friend and roommate Ivan Raimi, Tapert would meet future longstanding filmmaking partners Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell.

Tapert and director Sam Raimi experimented on several short films before endeavoring on their first feature-length picture, a graphic horror film titled The Evil Dead, which Tapert produced, Raimi directed, and Bruce Campbell starred. Thanks to a glowing review from horror author Stephen King, the film was a success with the crowd at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and although not a favorite of critics at the time, it was critically acclaimed as a horror classic in later years eventually gaining a cult following. The film was successful enough to spawn two sequels, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, a remake in 2013, and a television series titled Ash vs Evil Dead.

Tapert continued on to produce numerous other films, typically involving Raimi and/or Campbell in some capacity, such as Crimewave, Easy Wheels, Darkman, Hard Target, Timecop, The Quick and the Dead, A Simple Plan, and The Gift.

Tapert co-founded film production company Ghost House Pictures in 2002. Their first release, The Grudge, grossed nearly $200 million internationally.[1] They followed up that success with Boogeyman, Rise, The Messengers, 30 Days of Night, Drag Me to Hell which Raimi directed, The Possession,[2] and a remake of Tobe Hooper's seminal film Poltergeist.[3]

In 2013, Tapert and Raimi tapped Uruguayan director Fede Álvarez, after seeing his short, Panic Attack!, to reimagine The Evil Dead.[4] Diablo Cody contributed a polish to help Americanize the script.[5]

Tapert would re-collaborate with Álvarez and writer Rodo Sayagues in 2016 on the breakout film Don't Breathe that grossed $157 million worldwide.[6]


In the 1990s, Tapert produced and/or wrote several television series, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, M.A.N.T.I.S., Spy Game (TV series), and American Gothic. Tapert also co-created the prequel series Young Hercules that starred Ryan Gosling.

During Hercules, Tapert created the character of Xena which he later spun off into a separate series Xena: Warrior Princess. The franchise has been referred to as ground-breaking and the character as a feminist and lesbian icon.[7][8][9] Xena: Warrior Princess has been credited by many, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, with blazing the trail for a new generation of female action heroes such as Buffy, Max of Dark Angel, Sydney Bristow of Alias, and the Bride in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.[10] After serving as Lucy Lawless's stunt double on Xena, stunt woman Zoë E. Bell was recruited to be Uma Thurman's stunt double in Tarantino's Kill Bill. By helping to pave the way for female action heroes in television and film, "Xena" also strengthened the stunt woman profession.[11]

In 2008, Tapert produced Legend of the Seeker, the television adaptation of the popular Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind for ABC Studios.

Tapert followed with the Roman epic Spartacus for Starz in 2010,[12] including Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, Spartacus: Vengeance, and Spartacus: War of the Damned.

Tapert's most recent television project is Ash vs Evil Dead based on the Evil Dead film franchise that premiered on Starz in 2015.[13]



As producer[edit]

Year Title Notes
1978 Within the Woods Short film; executive producer
1981 The Evil Dead Executive producer
1986 Crimewave
1987 Evil Dead II
1989 Easy Wheels
1990 Darkman
1991 Lunatics: A Love Story Executive producer
Battle the Big Tuna Documentary film; direct-to-video
1992 Army of Darkness
1993 Hard Target Executive producer
1994 Timecop
1995 The Quick and the Dead Executive producer
Darkman II: The Return of Durant Executive producer; direct-to-video
1996 Darkman III: Die Darkman Die
1998 Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie:
The Battle for Mount Olympus
2000 The Gift Executive producer
2004 The Grudge
2005 Boogeyman
2006 The Grudge 2
2007 The Messengers
Rise: Blood Hunter Executive producer
30 Days of Night
Boogeyman 2 Executive producer
2009 Drag Me to Hell
Messengers 2: The Scarecrow Executive producer; direct-to-video
2010 30 Days of Night: Dark Days Direct-to-video
2012 The Possession
2013 Evil Dead
2015 Poltergeist
2016 Don't Breathe
2020 The Grudge
2021 The Unholy
Don't Breathe 2
Nightbooks Executive producer
2022 Evil Dead Rise

As actor[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Happy Valley Kid Urknown Short film
It's Murder!
1980 The Blind Waiter The Deaf Manager Short film
1981 The Evil Dead Local Yokel (uncredited)
Torro. Torro. Torro! Urknown Short films
1982 Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter
1984 Going Back Man with Glasses in Bar (uncredited)
1985 The Sappy Sap Urknown Short film
1986 Crimewave Bar patron in Rialto (uncredited)
1987 Evil Dead II Airport Worker (uncredited)

As sound department[edit]

Year Title Notes
1977 It's Murder! Sound utility (uncredited)

As presenter[edit]

Year Title Notes
1978 Within the Woods Short film


As executive producer[edit]

Year(s) Title Notes
1992 Darkman Television film
1994–1995 M.A.N.T.I.S. 23 episodes
1994–1999 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys 116 episodes
1995–1998 American Gothic 22 episodes
1995–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess 134 episodes
1997 Spy Game 13 episodes
1998–1999 Young Hercules 51 episodes
2000 Jack of All Trades 22 episodes
2000–2001 Cleopatra 2525 28 episodes
2008–2010 Legend of the Seeker 44 episodes
2009 13: Fear Is Real 8 episodes
2010 Zombie Roadkill 6 episodes
2010–2013 Spartacus 39 episodes
2015–2018 Ash vs Evil Dead 30 episodes

As writer[edit]

Year(s) Title Notes
1995–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Created 134 episodes; stories for 6 episodes
1996 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Story for episode: "Once a Hero"
1997 Amazon High Story; television film
1998–1999 Young Hercules Created 50 episodes; stories for 2 episodes; teleplay for episode: "The Treasure of Zeus: Part 1"
2000–2001 Cleopatra 2525 Created 28 episodes; story for episode: "Quest for Firepower"
2005 Alien Apocalypse Uncredited; television film

As director[edit]

Year(s) Title Notes
1996 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Episode: "Once a Hero"
1997–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess 4 episodes

As actor[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1995 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Crowd Member (uncredited) Episode: "Gladiator"
1997 Xena: Warrior Princess Himself Episode: "The Xena Scrolls"

Video game[edit]

Year Title Role
2005 Evil Dead: Regeneration Supervising producer


Tapert produced the stage musical Pleasuredome as a love story to 1980's New York City incorporating songs from the era. The play, which was based on Tapert's personal experiences,[14] successfully premiered in 2017 to critical acclaim and sold-out crowds in Tapert's home of Auckland, New Zealand and stars Lucy Lawless.[15]

57,000 tickets were sold during its first 13-week run.[16]

Further reading[edit]

  • Warren, Bill. The Evil Dead Companion, ISBN 0-312-27501-3.


  1. ^ "The Grudge (2004) - Box Office Mojo".
  2. ^ "Lionsgate to Open Up Ghost House's Dibbuk Box". DreadCentral.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (20 June 2013). "MGM Partners With Fox On 'Poltergeist' Reboot".
  4. ^ "Sam Raimi Helps Filmmaker Fede Alvarez Usher in an Alien Invasion". DreadCentral.
  5. ^ "'Evil Dead' remake: Diablo Cody polishing script for first-time director". 13 July 2011.
  6. ^ "Don't Breathe (2016) - Box Office Mojo".
  7. ^ "Page not found – The Online Scholar". doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.1998.00079.x. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help); Cite uses generic title (help)
  8. ^ "Xena: Warrior Princess, The Lesbian Gaze, And The Construction Of A Feminist Heroine".
  9. ^ Janet K. Boles; Diane Long Hoeveler (2004). Historical Dictionary of Feminism. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-4946-4.
  10. ^ "Cathy Young: Salon - What We Owe Xena".
  11. ^ See the documentary Double Dare (Amanda Micheli, director. 2005) for more information on the role of Xena in fostering the female superhero character and the stunt woman, both of which are traditionally male categories.
  13. ^ "Starz Orders 'Evil Dead' TV Series". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  14. ^ "The pleasure, pain and 40-year wait behind this Kiwi musical spectacular". Stuff.
  15. ^ "The Ultimate 80's Musical Experience - Pleasuredome The Musical".
  16. ^ "Pleasuredome The Musical".

External links[edit]