Rob Tapert

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Rob Tapert
Tapert in 2018
Robert Gerard Tapert

(1955-05-14) May 14, 1955 (age 68)
Other namesRobert G. Tapert
Alma materMichigan State University
Occupation(s)Film and television producer, screenwriter, television director
(m. 1998)

Robert Gerard Tapert (/ˈtæpərt/;[1] 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.


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. It was a success with the crowd at the Cannes Film Festival in France, and a glowing review from horror author Stephen King saw the film given a cinematic release in the USA, and later internationally.[2]

Although not a favorite of critics at the time, it gained a cult following and was later critically acclaimed as a horror classic. The film spawned a franchise of five films and a television series, of which Tapert has been involved as a producer in all of them.

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.[3] They followed up that success with Boogeyman, Rise, The Messengers, 30 Days of Night, Drag Me to Hell which Raimi directed, The Possession,[4] and a remake of Tobe Hooper's seminal film Poltergeist.[5]

In 2013, Tapert and Raimi tapped Uruguayan director Fede Álvarez, after seeing his short, Ataque de pánico!, to reimagine The Evil Dead.[6] Diablo Cody contributed a polish to help Americanize the script.[7]

Tapert would re-collaborate with Álvarez and writer Rodo Sayagues in 2016 on the breakout film Don't Breathe that grossed $157 million worldwide.[8] He returned as producer in its 2021 sequel.


In the 1990s, Tapert produced and/or wrote several television series, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, M.A.N.T.I.S., Spy Game, 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.[9][10][11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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,[14] 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.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Tapert with his wife Lucy Lawless in 2018

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 March 28, 1998; the couple have two sons. Lawless played the title character in Xena: Warrior Princess.




Executive producer

Acting roles[edit]

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

Other roles[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1977 It's Murder! Sound utility Uncredited
1978 Within the Woods Presenter Short film



Executive producer


Year(s) Title Director Writer Executive
1992 Darkman No No Yes TV movie
1994–1995 M.A.N.T.I.S. No No Yes 23 episodes
1994–1999 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Yes Yes Yes Wrote and directed episode "Once a Hero"
1995–1998 American Gothic No No Yes 22 episodes
1995–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Yes Yes Yes Wrote 15 episodes
Directed 4 episodes
1997 Spy Game No No Yes 13 episodes
1997 Amazon High No Story No TV movie
1998–1999 Young Hercules No Yes Yes Wrote 3 episodes
2000 Jack of All Trades No No Yes 22 episodes
2000–2001 Cleopatra 2525 No Yes Yes Wrote episode "Quest for Firepower"
2005 Alien Apocalypse No Uncredited No TV movie
2008–2010 Legend of the Seeker No No Yes 44 episodes
2009 13: Fear Is Real No No Yes 8 episodes
2010 Zombie Roadkill No No Yes 6 episodes
2010–2013 Spartacus No No Yes 39 episodes
2015–2018 Ash vs Evil Dead No No Yes 30 episodes

Acting roles[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,[16] successfully premiered in 2017 to critical acclaim and sold-out crowds in Tapert's home of Auckland, New Zealand and stars Lucy Lawless.[17]

57,000 tickets were sold during its first 13-week run.[18]

Further reading[edit]

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


  1. ^ Evil Dead Interview (1983)
  2. ^ "Box Office".
  3. ^ "The Grudge (2004) - Box Office Mojo".
  4. ^ "Lionsgate to Open Up Ghost House's Dibbuk Box". DreadCentral. August 16, 2012.
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (June 20, 2013). "MGM Partners With Fox On 'Poltergeist' Reboot".
  6. ^ "Sam Raimi Helps Filmmaker Fede Alvarez Usher in an Alien Invasion". DreadCentral. June 19, 2012.
  7. ^ "'Evil Dead' remake: Diablo Cody polishing script for first-time director". July 13, 2011.
  8. ^ "Don't Breathe (2016) - Box Office Mojo".
  9. ^ "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)
  10. ^ "Xena: Warrior Princess, The Lesbian Gaze, And The Construction Of A Feminist Heroine".
  11. ^ Janet K. Boles; Diane Long Hoeveler (2004). Historical Dictionary of Feminism. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-4946-4.
  12. ^ "Cathy Young: Salon - What We Owe Xena".
  13. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Starz Orders 'Evil Dead' TV Series". The Hollywood Reporter. November 10, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  16. ^ "The pleasure, pain and 40-year wait behind this Kiwi musical spectacular". Stuff. September 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "The Ultimate 80's Musical Experience - Pleasuredome The Musical".
  18. ^ "Pleasuredome The Musical".

External links[edit]