Sam Raimi (born 23.10.1959)
Sam Raimi is an American film director who was first known for his cult horror films, such as The Evil Dead and rose to prominence when he took on the directorship of the modern Spider-Man film adaptations.
Sam Raimi: Childhood
Sam Raimi was born to Celia Barbara and Leonard Ronald Raimi, in the Royal Oak area of Michigan. His mother ran lingerie shops, whilst his father ran home furnishing stores. The family are Conservative Jews and are descended from Russian and Hungarian stock.
Sam was the fourth of five children, though his eldest brother, Sander, was killed in a swimming accident at the age of 15. Another brother, Ivan, sometimes works with Sam as a screenwriter, as well as being an emergency room doctor. His brother Ted is an actor and played Hoffman in the Spider-Man series. His sister Andrea is a stenographer.
When Sam Raimi graduated from Wylie E. Groves High School in Michigan, he majored in English at Michigan State University. However, he only attended for three semesters, after which, he left to film The Evil Dead.
Sam Raimi: Childhood
Sam Raimi's fascination with film began when his father bought a Super-8 camera. He and his friend Bruce Campbell (star of Bubba Ho-tep and My Name Is Bruce) teamed up to make a number of low budget movies. One of the first that they made was Within the Woods, in 1978. The 32 minute horror film made $350,000 and they went on to film a comedy short entitled It's Murder!
With the help of investors, family and friends, Raimi financed the production of The Evil Dead in 1981. The film became a cult hit amongst fans of horror and gore movies.
In 1985, Raimi's second film, Crimewave was released. The film was not as successful as its predecessor, something that Raimi blames in part on unwanted meddling from the studio.
With Evil Dead II, Raimi returned to making horror films, though this installment played down the gore and played up the comic element.
Raimi was keen, early on in his career to show his love of comic books and graphic novels and for a long time, wanted to adapt 'The Shadow' into a film. However, when he was unable to obtain the rights, he developed his own super hero film, Darkman, in 1990. This was the first film that he made for a major studio and it received a mixed reception. It was enough to ensure that he gained funding for Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness, which leaned even further toward the comic, rather than the horror genre.
During the 1990s, Sam Raimi worked on a range of genres, such as the Western movie The Quick and the Dead. In 1998, he directed Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton in A Simple Plan, a well-received crime thriller. This was followed by a romantic drama led by Kevin Costner, entitled For the Love of the Game in 1999.
Sam Raimi's big break came in 2002 with the release of Spider-Man. The big budget adaptation of the comic book starred Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Two sequels were made, entitled Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3 an all films have grossed over $800 million each at the box office. Prior to landing the Spider-Man job, Raimi vied for the directorial position on Batman Forever, once it became known that Tim Burton had been pushed out. However, Raimi's campaign was unsuccessful and the job went instead to Joel Schumacher. Similarly, Raimi expressed an interest in directing the film version of The Hobbit (the prequel to The Lord of The Rings) but lost out to Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson.
Sam Raimi has collaborated on a number of occasions with the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen (the pair are responsible for films such as Burn After Reading and O, Brother, Where Art Thou?). In the 1980s, Raimi co-wrote The Hudsucker Proxy with the brothers, though the film was not made for nearly 10 years after it had been written. Raimi also made a number of cameo film appearances, including a brief role as a gas station attendant in John Carpenter's Body Bags.
Sam Raimi: Personal Life
In 1993, Sam Raimi married Gillian Dania Greene. The couple have five children together, three of whom have had cameos in Spider-Man and Drag Me To Hell.