Once and Again
An heir to the Champion spark plug fortune, Billy Campbell began acting in high school but did not pay serious attention to it until he studied at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Trained at the Ted Liss Studio for the Performing Arts, the Players Workshop of Second City in Chicago, and Howard Fine in Los Angeles, Campbell was first noticed while playing the recurring role of Luke Fuller (1984-1985), the soft-spoken gay lover to co-worker Steven Carrington (played by Jack Coleman), on the ABC primetime soap "Dynasty."
After starring in the TV shows "Crime Story" (as Detective Joey Indelli; 1986-1988) and "Moon Over Miami" (as Walter Tatum; 1993), he garnered critical acclaim for portraying the Golden Globe-nominated role of Sela Ward's love interest in the ABC drama series "Once and Again" (1999-2002). He would later co-star as the intelligent and persuasive Jordan Collier on USA Network's science fiction series "The 4400" (2004-2007) and portray recurring roles on Fox’s teen drama series "The O.C." (as magazine editor Carter Buckley; 2005). He recently guest-starred as Wayne Callison in multiple episodes of CBS’ legal drama starring James Woods, "Shark."
On the big screen, Campbell has starred in the films "The Rocketeer" (1991; as the title role), "Dracula" (1992; as suitor Quincey P. Morris), "The Brylcreem Boys" (1998), "Enough" (2002), and "Gods and Generals" (2003). He will next be seen alongside Ricky Gervais, Greg Kinnear, and Téa Leoni in the upcoming fantasy-comedy film "Ghost Town," which is set to be released on September 19, 2008.
As for his stage work, Campbell performed in "Fortinbras," "Backbone of America," "Hamlet," "Guys & Dolls" and "The Best Man."
This handsome, 6' 4" die-hard bachelor who was one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" (2000), dated and was engaged to actress Virginia Madsen. He also dated actress Jennifer Connelly for 5 years following their 1991 film "The Rocketeer."
Childhood and Family:
Born in Charlottesville, Virginia, on July 7, 1959, Billy Campbell attended Baptist Military Academy, in Fort Union, Virginia. After leaving Fork Union, he attended Western Albemarle High School, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and graduated in 1979. While at Western Albemarle, he played defensive tackle on the football team, drew cartoons for the school newspaper, and had the distinction of serving as Western Albemarle High's first mascot. He was also cast in the school production of "The Man Who Came To Dinner."
An heir to the Champion spark plug fortune, Campbell received a substantial inheritance by age 18. His parents divorced when he was two years old. During his formative years, Campbell lived on a horse ranch in Charlottesville with his mother then spent summers with his real estate agent dad in Chicago. His parents each remarried several times and these marriages produced six half-siblings for Billy.
After high school, Campbell moved to Chicago to live with his divorced father. He initially planned of becoming a comic book artist and studied illustration at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. After taking an acting class at the suggestion of a friend, he became interested in drama and decided to study the craft at the Ted Liss Studio for the Performing Arts and the Players Workshop of Second City in Chicago. After appearing in Chicago regional theater, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue screen acting while continuing his dramatic studies at Howard Fine in Los Angeles.
A rugby enthusiast, Campbell has played rugby with the Chicago Lions RFC and the Santa Monica Rugby Club. He has volunteered as an actor with the Young Storytellers Program and is good friends with actor and "Crime Story" co-star Stephen Lang.
Billy Campbell became seriously interested in acting after a friend suggested he take an acting class while attending the American Academy of Art in Chicago. He began to study the craft at the Ted Liss Studio for the Performing Arts and the Players Workshop of Second City in Chicago. After appearing in Chicago regional theater, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue screen acting while continuing his dramatic studies at Howard Fine in Los Angeles.
In 1981, the aspiring actor debuted in a sword and sorcery improvisational production called "Dungeon Master." That same year, he made his first big screen appearance in Lindsay Shonteff's independent action film "How Sleep the Brave."
Following guest spots in an episode of NBC’s sitcom "Family Ties" and the ABC series "Hotel," Campbell, billed as William Campbell, landed the recurring role of Luke Fuller on the ABC primetime soap "Dynasty," in which he stayed for one year (1984-1985). During this time, he moved to Los Angeles and made his TV-movie acting debut on CBS' "First Steps" (1985), in which he was billed as Bill Campbell.
From 1986 to 1988, Campbell co-starred with Dennis Farina on the NBC TV series "Crime Story." He also guest starred as Captain Thadiun Okona in a 1988 episode of the syndicated sci-fi series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
In 1989, billed as William Campbell, he appeared in Richard Fleischer's 29-minute short film "Call from Space." He followed it with a prominent role in the 1991 superhero adventure film based on the comic book by Dave Stevens, "The Rocketeer," in which he played the title role of a young stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious rocket pack that allows him to become a high flying masked hero.
The following year, Campbell played the supporting role of Quincey P. Morris, a rich young American from Texas and one of the three suitors of Lucy Westenra (played by Sadie Frost), in Francis Ford Coppola's Academy Award-winning horror-romance film based on the novel by Bram Stoker, "Dracula." He also portrayed Laertes in an off-Broadway production of William Shakespeare's tragedy, "Hamlet," starring Stephen Lang.
Campbell subsequently starred as Walter Tatum in "Moon Over Miami" (1993), a short-lived detective romantic comedy series on ABC. He was also cast as Dr. Jon Fielding in "Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City" (1994; PBS) and co-starred with Angus Macfadyen in Terence Ryan's war drama film "The Brylcreem Boys." The British ensemble drama was filmed in 1996 and released in Great Britain in 1999. Campbell also starred in "Fortinbras" (1997) on the L.A. Stage and revisited the role of Jon Fielding in the Showtime miniseries "Armistead Maupin's More Tales of the City" (1998).
From 1999 to 2002, Campbell starred opposite Sela Ward, playing her love interest Rick Sammler, a single father and co-head of an architectural firm, in the ABC drama series "Once and Again." His performance in the show received positive reviews and won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series – Drama and a TV Guide Award for Favorite Actor in a New Series. The character Rick Sammler would later be ranked #36 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (June 20, 2004 issue).
During his "Once and Again" tenure, Campbell again portrayed Jon Fielding in the Showtime miniseries "Armistead Maupin's Further Tales of the City" (2001), which earned him a Golden Satellite nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television. He also starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in Michael Apted's thriller film, "Enough" (2002).
Following the demise of "Once and Again," Campbell played Major General George Pickett in Ronald F. Maxwell's film adaptation of Ronald F. Maxwell's novel, "Gods and Generals" (2003; starring Jeff Daniels, Robert Duvall, and Stephen Lang). He also portrayed serial killer Ted Bundy in the TV movie based on the book by Ann Rule, "The Stranger Beside Me" (2003; opposite Barbara Hershey), as well as guest-starred in an episode of ABC’s legal drama series "The Practice" and NBC’s drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
2004-2007 saw Campbell co-starring as the intelligent and persuasive Jordan Collier on USA Network's science fiction series "The 4400." He also portrayed the recurring role of magazine editor Carter Buckley during the second season (2005) of Fox’s teen drama series "The O.C." He recently guest-starred as Wayne Callison on multiple episodes of CBS’ legal drama starring James Woods, "Shark," and starred as Michelle Trachtenberg's estranged father in the made-for-television movie "The Circuit" (2008).
Campbell has completed his latest film, "Ghost Town," which was directed by David Koepp and starred Ricky Gervais. He will next co-star with Peter Fonda in a sci-fi drama TV movie set on a distant planet, "Revolution."
People's Choice: Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series, "Once and Again," 2000