William Campbell (film actor)

William Campbell (film actor)

:"This is about the film actor. For similarly named performers, see William Campbell (performer)".Infobox actor
name = William Campbell

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birthdate = birth date and age|1926|10|30
location = Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
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othername = Bill Campbell
spouse = Barbara Bricker (1960-1961)
Judith Exner (1952-1958)
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homepage =
notable role =
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William Campbell (born October 30, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey) is an American actor. He has appeared in supporting roles in major film productions, but also starred in several low-budget B-movies, including two cult horror films.

His movie career began in 1950, with a small part in the John Garfield film, "The Breaking Point". After several years of similar supporting performances in a variety of titles, including as a co-pilot in William Wellman's "The High and the Mighty" (1954), he snagged his first starring role in "Cell 2455 Death Row" (1955), a Columbia Pictures prison cheapie. He played a death row inmate, based loosely on the true story of Caryl Chessman, who staunchly proclaimed his innocence and obtained numerous reprieves over many years until finally being executed. Campbell's surprisingly powerful performance received generally good notices from critics, but it did very little for his career; his next several roles were again providing support to lead actors, including "Love Me Tender" (1956) (in which he sang with Elvis Presley) and the film version of Norman Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead" (1958).

In 1958, Campbell co-starred in "Cannonball", a short-lived television series about truck drivers. After that, it was back to more years of small parts in increasingly lower grade movies.

In 1963, Campbell started a brief association with Roger Corman, starring in the director's "The Young Racers" that year. The auto-racing themed movie, written by Campbell's brother R. Wright Campbell, was shot in Ireland. After production was completed, the film's sound man, Francis Ford Coppola, talked Corman into allowing Coppola to remain in Ireland with a small crew and direct a low-budget horror film, to be produced by Corman. Coppola promised it would be the cheapest film Corman was ever involved in. Shot for approximately $40,000, the resultant film, "Dementia 13" (1963), is an atmospheric and violent horror thriller clearly made in imitation of "Psycho". Campbell starred as a moody loner who at one point becomes the chief suspect in a series of gruesome axe killings; Patrick Magee and Luana Anders led the supporting cast. Many years later, Campbell would provide an informative and amusing audio commentary for the film's DVD release.

Campbell also starred in another, even cheaper and more bizarre, Corman-produced horror yarn. Filmed in 1963 in Yugoslavia under the title "Operacija Ticijan", again with Magee in the cast, the movie was never released in its original form, although it was re-edited, re dubbed and briefly shown on television as "Portrait in Terror". Years later, additional footage was shot in California, first by Jack Hill, then by Stephanie Rothman, transforming what was once a spy thriller into the story of a vampire stalking the streets of Venice, California. The film was retitled "Blood Bath", although it is also known as "Track of the Vampire", and received a limited theatrical release in 1966. Campbell plays an artist who kills women and hides their bodies in his sculptures; he is also a vampire who can freely walk during the daylight in search of victims. However, the fanged vampire is confusingly played by another actor who does not resemble Campbell in the least. Like "Dementia 13", the film has managed to develop a cult following despite its deficiencies. In the early 1990s, "Video Watchdog" magazine devoted lengthy articles in three separate issues painstakingly detailing the convoluted production history of this strange but fascinating movie.

Campbell has also obtained cult status for his guest starring roles on "Star Trek", appearing once as the mischievous super-being Trelane (in part a parody of Liberace, whom Campbell resembled), and three times as the Klingon Captain Koloth. He appeared at several "Trek" conventions in the 1980s and 1990s and many Star Trek fans consider Campbell's portrayal of the Trelane character as the first introduction of the "Q culture" to the series. [The Q are an omnipotent race made part of The Next Generation series] . His most recent appearance was at the convention organized by Creation Entertainment as the Las Vegas Hilton in August 2006.

Campbell married Judith Exner in 1952. They divorced in 1958.

External links

*imdb name|0132930|William Campbell

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