Robert Tapert

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Robert Tapert
Rob Tapert.JPG
Rob Tapert speaking at SPADA 2010
BornRobert Gerard Tapert
(1955-05-14) May 14, 1955 (age 63)
Royal Oak, Michigan, U.S.
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationFilm and television producer
Lucy Lawless (m. 1998)

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

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


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.

Personal life[edit]

He 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 have two sons.


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 would gross 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 Alvarez, 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 Alvarez and writer Rodo Sayagues in 2016 on the breakout film Don't Breathe that grossed $157 million world-wide.[6]


In the 1990s, Tapert produced 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 groundbreaking 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]


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.
  8. ^ "Xena: Warrior Princess, The Lesbian Gaze, And The Construction Of A Feminist Heroine".
  9. ^ "Book sources" – via Wikipedia.
  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]