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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.

Robert Tapert
Rob Tapert.JPG
Rob Tapert speaking at SPADA 2010
Robert Gerard Tapert

(1955-05-14) May 14, 1955 (age 64)
Alma materMichigan State University
OccupationFilm and television producer, screenwriter, television director
Lucy Lawless (m. 1998)

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 lifeEdit

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 has 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 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 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]


Year Title Executive
Producer Actor Notes
1977 The Happy Valley Kid Yes Short
It's Murder! Yes Also sound utility
1978 Within the Woods Yes Yes Shorts
1980 The Blind Waiter Yes
1981 The Evil Dead Yes Yes Yes as 'Local Yokel'
Torro. Torro. Torro! Yes Shorts
1982 Cleveland Smith: Bounty Hunter Yes
1984 Going Back Yes as 'Man with Glasses in Bar'
1985 The Sappy Sap Yes Short
1986 Crimewave Yes Yes as 'Bar patron in Rialto'
1987 Evil Dead II Yes Yes as 'Airport Worker'
1989 Easy Wheels Yes
1990 Darkman Yes
1991 Lunatics: A Love Story Yes
Battle the Big Tuna Yes As Himself appearance
Direct-to-video docmumentary
1992 Army of Darkness Yes
1993 Hard Target Yes
1994 Timecop Yes
1995 The Quick and the Dead Yes
Darkman II: The Return of Durant Yes Direct-to-video
1996 Darkman III: Die Darkman Die Yes
1998 Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus Yes
2000 The Gift Yes
2004 The Grudge Yes
2005 Boogeyman Yes
2006 The Grudge 2 Yes
2007 The Messengers Yes
Rise Yes
30 Days of Night Yes
Boogeyman 2 Yes
2009 Drag Me to Hell Yes
Messengers 2: The Scarecrow Yes Direct-to-video
2010 30 Days of Night: Dark Days Yes
2012 The Possession Yes
2013 Evil Dead Yes
2015 Poltergeist Yes
2016 Don't Breathe Yes
2019 Grudge Yes
TBA Don't Breathe 2 Yes
Year Title Executive
Writer Director Actor Notes
1992 Darkman Yes TV Movie
1994-1995 M.A.N.T.I.S. Yes 23 episodes
1994-1999 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Yes Yes Yes Yes Director and story (episode 'Once a Hero')
Executive Producer (116 episodes)
Cameo as 'Crowd Member' (episode 'Gladiator')
1995-1998 American Gothic Yes 22 episodes
1995-2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Yes Yes Yes Yes Director (4 episodes)
Creator and Executive Producer (134 episodes)
Himself (episode 'The Xena Scrolls')
1997 Spy Game Yes 4 episodes
Amazon High Yes Story
TV Movie
1998-1999 Young Hercules Yes Yes Creator (49 episodes)
Stories (2 episodes)
Writer (episode 'The Treasure of Zeus: Part 1')
Executive Producer (50 episodes)
2000 Jack of All Trades Yes 5 episodes
2000-2001 Cleopatra 2525 Yes Yes Creator (28 episodes)
Story (episode 'Quest for Firepower')
Executive Producer (2 episodes)
2005 Alien Apocalypse Yes Uncredited
TV Movie
2008-2010 Legend of the Seeker Yes 44 episodes
2009 13: Fear Is Real Yes 1 episode
2010 Zombie Roadkill Yes 6 episodes
2010-2013 Spartacus Yes 33 episodes (Blood and Sand) + 6 episodes (Gods of the Arena)
2015-2018 Ash vs Evil Dead Yes 20 episodes
TBA Noir Yes Urknown episodes
Video Game
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 readingEdit

  • 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. ^ 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 linksEdit