Shooting to popculture infamy with his role as the chainsaw-handed, shotgun-wielding Ash Williams in the Sam Raimi-directed Evil Dead film series, Bruce Lorne Campbell (born June 22, 1958) is one of the most sought-after B-movie/character actors in Hollywood. His roles tend to aim towards the comedically awesome badass, and his very manly chin only makes him more famous.
Campbell's other roles were often found in television work, where he held the lead role in the steampunk-inspired action-comedies The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. and Jack of All Trades, and a many-times recurring role as Autolycus, the King of Thieves in Raimi's Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules television series. In fact, his most high-profile work usually comes from bit parts in Raimi's various productions, but even outside of that Production Posse he is almost constantly involved with one project or another. One exception was his long-running role in Burn Notice as an over-the-hill (but still wily) Navy SEAL named Sam Axe.
He is Spider-Man's most powerful, implacable foe. His cameos in Sam Raimi's film trilogy are considered some of the funniest moments of those films: the wrestling ring announcer (and bestower of Spidey's official name) in the first film, the obnoxious usher who stops Peter from attending Mary Jane's play in the second (thereby making him the first character to defeat Spider-Man), and as the French maitre d' who helps Peter propose in the third. Campbell also does voice work for that franchise, providing the voice of the Narrator in all three Spider-Man video games; his role in those games appears to be only partly scripted, as Campbell shows his trademark dry delivery and a distinct flair for ad-libbed and off-the-cuff humor. Regardless of the franchise's 2012 reboot, Campbell's voice returns in the The Amazing Spider-Man licensed game, this time as a full-fledged villain.
His autobiography, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, was published in 2002 and despite the name, it is actually a memoir that mostly deals with his early life, the Evil Dead series, and his observations about the unrecognized rank-and-file people who make Hollywood work. Part two of his autobiography, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, was published in 2017 and details his personal life post 2002, and his work on Burn Notice, Bubba Ho-Tep, My Name is Bruce, and other projects, including the first season of Ash vs Evil Dead. Another book, Make Love!: The Bruce Campbell Way is currently in hardcover and paperback. It is a fictional account of how he nearly became an A-list actor, as well as his ruminations on the concept of romantic love.
Film - Animation
- Rod "Torque" Redline in Cars 2.
- The mayor in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Fugax in The Ant Bully.
Film - Live-Action
- Bubba Ho Tep
- Short appearance in Congo.
- One of the many disguises of Darkman.
- He dubbed the voice for the characters Raimi and Comdr. Carpenter in The Dead Next Door.
- Escape from L.A., as the Surgeon General of Beverly Hills.
- The Evil Dead series.
- Smitty in The Hudsucker Proxy (a joint effort by Sam Raimi and The Coen Brothers).
- Short appearance as a cop in Intruder.
- Mechanic Hank Cooper in the 1997 remake of The Love Bug.
- Man with the Screaming Brain, which he co-wrote, directed, and starred in
- Jack Forrest in Maniac Cop and Maniac Cop 2.
- He co-starred in the 1992 film Mindwarp, produced by Fangoria magazine.
- My Name Is Bruce, As Himself. Sort of.
- Coach Boomer in Sky High (2005)
- Virgil in the 1997 movie of McHale's Navy.
- A cameo appearance in all three of Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy films, and sometime Lemony Narrator in the accompanying video games.
- Tornado!, as Jake Thorne.
- Oz: The Great and Powerful as a guard of the Emerald City.
- A short cameo in From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money as a character killed by bats in a movie within the movie.
- The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
- Burn Notice, where it is worth noting his character's name is Sam Axe, and often goes by the cover identity of Chuck Finley.
- Ellen as Ed Billik
- Homicide: Life on the Street: "Justice" (two-part episode) as Jake Rodzinsky
- Lois & Clark - three episodes as Bill Church Jr.
- The X-Files: "Terms of Endearment" as Wayne Weinsider
- Jack of All Trades
- The recurring role of Autolycus in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
- Santa Claus in The Librarians 2014
- Timecop, episode "The Future, Jack, the Future"
- Fargo, as Ronald Reagan
- Ash vs. Evil Dead
- Wrote the foreword for the Deadlands Player's Guide.
- Reprised his role of Ash in a trio of licensed Evil Dead games: Evil Dead: Hail to the King, Evil Dead: A Fistful of Boomstick (which came complete with a controller button dedicated to spouting one liners) and Evil Dead: Regeneration, which featured a loud-mouthed, undead sidekick played by Ted Raimi.
- Did Ash again in the second Poker Night at the Inventory game.
- Pitfall 3D: Beyond the Jungle, as Harry Pitfall jr.
- Voices the Player Character Jake Logan in Tachyon: The Fringe; listening to him calling you a little bitch when you cheat is one of the funniest parts of the game.
- Also voiced the Player Character Jake Burton in Broken Helix.
- Voiced the Lemony Narrator who gives tutorials in the Spider-Man games based on the Sam Raimi movies, as well as the Xtreme Reporter in the game adaptation of The Amazing Spider-Man.
- The theoretical casting of Legostar Galactica begins with him as Captain Bob Smith.
- A parody of himself in the form of Magnanimus in Megas XLRCoop: He's just a big head... with tiny arms!
- Voiced Villain of the Week Himcules in My Life as a Teenage Robot.
- Uncle Phil in The Replacements
- Chicken Bittle in Aqua Teen Hunger Force
References in other works
- Nerdcore's ode to horror movies (done by MC Lars, YT Cracker, Schaffer the Dark Lord, and Zealous 1) is entitled "Do The Bruce Campbell".
- Psychostick wrote a musical love letter to the man, referencing his Evil Dead and other works, simply titled "Bruce Campbell".
Tropes associated with Bruce Campbell:
- Badass Preacher: Bruce is an ordained minister, and has performed marriages. ZOMBIE MARRIAGES!!!
- Chainsaw Good: The Trope Codifier.
- The Charmer: One of his most notable traits, not only is most of the characters he plays Loveable Rogues, but he himself is quite charming and friendly.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially noticeable on his Twitter.
- Erudite Stoner / Stoners Are Funny: Bruce is a strong advocate for the legalization of marijauna and has had a medical marijuana card in his residence of Portland, Oregon since 2005. He's also a very smart guy and obviously quite funny.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: To the point his autobiography is called If Chins Could Kill.
- Large Ham: A staple of his roles.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: In contrast to iconic Jerk with a Heart of Gold and brash Idiot Hero Ash Williams, Bruce is a consummate Nice Guy with zero ego and absolutely adores his fans.
- One of Us: Campbell enjoys Role-Playing Games after being introduced to them with Deadlands, and even collaborated in a Werewolf: The Apocalypse crossover trilogy with the game.
- The Pornomancer: Many of his roles have him as quite the ladies' man even as an older man, capable of getting a woman to drop her panties and sleep with him with a wink and some smooth talk. Even when he isn't he tends to find himself around the female form quite often.The Rageaholic: (on his appearance in Escape from L.A.) Let's see: working opposite of Kurt Russell in a John Carpenter film, being paid millions to savage Valeria Golino's cans in her prime? I don't know womb-rending liquid macheesmo is coursing through your veins, Mr. Campbell, but bottle that shit and sell it!
- Production Posse: Aside from his work with Sam Raimi, who co-founded the production company Renaissance Pictures with him and Robert Tapert, he's also worked often with the Coen Brothers.
- Romance on the Set: Of a different variety with his second wife: He was an actor, She was the costume designer.
- This Is My Boomstick: Trope Namer