- 1 Who is Robert Tapert?
- 2 Early Life and Education: Growing Up in Michigan
- 3 Career Beginnings: Learning the Ins and Outs, Short Films and The Evil Dead
- 4 Work in Film
- 5 Television Work
- 6 Personal Life: Is Robert Tapert Married? Does He Have Children?
- 7 Net Worth: How Rich is Robert Tapert?
Who is Robert Tapert?
Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, on 14 May 1955 under the earth sign of Taurus, Robert Gerard Tapert is a 64-year old American television and film producer, director and writer. He is best known for being one of the minds behind “Xena: Warrior Princess”, an epic fantasy series from the 1990s. While it may not seem like much today, having a female protagonist was an unprecedented move in fantasy television at the time. As a result, the show has a large cult following, making Tapert a legend. After starting his career by making short films, he went on to make cult classics of the horror genre, such as “The Evil Dead” and “Evil Dead II” among others. In addition, Robert is also the founder of Ghost House Pictures and Renaissance Pictures, two massively influential production companies.
Early Life and Education: Growing Up in Michigan
Robert was raised in his birthplace, but we don’t know anything about his parents or their professions. The funny thing about his career is that he never really considered film-making, producing as a career until his 20s – his focus was always on mathematics and economics.Tapert matriculated from a local high school in 1973 with such good scores on his SATs that he could basically choose which college he wanted to go to; he ultimately opted to stay in his home state and attend Michigan State University (MSU). His major was Economics, but his interests slowly shifted because of his roommate. Yes, his roommate is, in a way, the reason we have been treated to so many horror classics. You might know that guy, too, as we’re talking about none other than Ivan Raimi, a renowned screenwriter.
Career Beginnings: Learning the Ins and Outs, Short Films and The Evil Dead
In reality, Tapert didn’t know anything about filmmaking, screenwriting or anything he became famous for, until he was in college. Ivan taught him all about various filming techniques, including recruiting actors. Together with his roommate, Rob frequently hung out with Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, two of his most frequent collaborators and close friends. Upon graduation, they mainly tried their hand on indie or short films. While none of their early work is that significant, critics often cite “Within the Woods” as a staple of indie horror movies of the 1970s.
After gaining experience, they were ready to unleash a masterpiece. In 1981, “The Evil Dead” was seen in cinemas around the world. Even though it was panned by critics, it didn’t matter, as the film sold a lot of tickets, and became a cult classic within a few years. It also had an official screening at the Cannes Film Festival, which is unusual for supernatural horror flicks. Raimi and Tapert were also encouraged by a positive review from renowned author Stephen King. ‘I still remember someone telling me – ‘Hey, Steven King just wrote a review of the movie!’ and having to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming.’
Work in Film
“The Evil Dead” was so successful that Tapert and Raimi knew they had to capitalize on the hype; thus, “Evil Dead II” was released in 1987. Unlike its predecessor, the sequel was more of a comedy horror film. Critics saw this as well, and praised the director-producer due for providing audiences with a quality parody of C-list horror movies from the 1970s. In 1992, the two joined forces in “Army of Darkness”, the third and final installment in the series. It received many positive reviews, mostly because Tapert was so consistent in maintaining a balance between dark humor and horror. It was dedicated to legendary film importer and distributor, Ivan Shapiro, who passed away in 1989, who both Tapert and Raimi considered an influence.
The two (and Bruce Campbell in some cases) collaborated on “Easy Wheels”, “Timecop” “The Quick and the Dead”, “The Gift” and many other blockbuster titles. Tapert’s growth as a producer was evident, as he showed he was able to please mainstream audiences, while still giving his films an indie feel. In 2013, he chose Uruguayan filmmaker and director, Fede Alvarez, to create a remake of “The Evil Dead” – they also made “Don’t Breathe” together.
His Production Companies
Renaissance Pictures is Robert’s first project he used to produce, develop and distribute most of his early work, as well as every show he produced or created in the 1990s. However, Ghost House Pictures turned out to be a truly revolutionary venture. He and Sam Raimi were determined to find the best directors and help them utilize the talents in the best way possible. Their first film, “The Grudge” smashed many box office records and earned a total of $187.3 million. They followed-up this success with “Boogeyman”, which would also receive two more sequels, just like “The Grudge”. In 2016, Ghost House Pictures “Don’t Breathe” grossed $157.1 million worldwide, certainly another triumph. Since the company’s inception in 2002, they’ve become perhaps the most respected horror production brand in today’s industry.
When Tapert was writing and producing “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, he was pretty happy. Sci-fi fans everywhere loved the show and it had rave reviews, but he also noticed something peculiar – even though Michael Hurst and Kevin Sorbo were the lead stars, they didn’t receive nearly as much fan mail as Lucy Lawless, who played Xena, the Warrior Princess. He began devising a spin-off series, which lead to “Xena: Warrior Princess”. Thus, both Xena and Lucy became feminist icons. Joss Whedon, the creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, openly admitted that Tapert’s show was the reason why he developed his own creation. Even Quentin Tarantino, of all people, said that “Xena: Warrior Princess” inspired the character of the Bride in his seminal hit “Kill Bill”.
Interestingly, stuntwoman Zoe E. Bell was the stunt double for both Lucy Lawless and Uma Thurman in “Xena” and “Kill Bill”, respectively. The show is also credited for creating more job opportunities for stuntwomen. Robert also produced other legendary shows, such as “Spartacus”, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” (and three other spin-offs), as well as “Ash vs Evil Dead”.
Personal Life: Is Robert Tapert Married? Does He Have Children?
Work relationships are nothing unusual in Hollywood, however, they seldom last, developing problems because their relationships clash with their work. That’s why everyone was surprised when Robert Tapert proposed to Lucy Lawless, the lead actress in “Xena: Warrior Princess”, in 1997.
NZ: American-born film & TV producer Rob Tapert, who has lived in Auckland with his family for 22 years, today received insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to the film and TV industries. Rob also became an NZ Citizen… https://t.co/6imyOwGsa1 pic.twitter.com/o3Xoxr80PB
— Rob Tapert (@robtapert) May 14, 2019
They exchanged their vows in a private ceremony, on 28 March 1998. They have two sons together, who are growing up alongside Daisy Lawless, Lucy’s daughter from a previous marriage. Their names are Julius Robert (b. 1999) and Judah Miro (b. 2002). Robert is one of four siblings – he has a younger brother named Jeff and two older sisters – Mary Beth (who made an appearance in “The Evil Dead”) and Dorothy.
Net Worth: How Rich is Robert Tapert?
According to SuperbHub, Robert Tapert has a net worth of around $10 million.