Joxer the Mighty
Younger brother to famed film director Sam Raimi and screenwriter Ivan Raimi, Ted Raimi started acting during his school years as an extra in brother Sam's early Super-8 films. He appeared in Sam's early hit films, Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead II (1987), before garnering recognition as the shy, but intelligent communication officer Lt. Tim O'Neill, on the science fiction television series “seaQuest DSV” (1993-1996), and as the warrior wannabe Joxer the Mighty (1996-2001) on “Xena: Warrior Princess.”
Ted has appeared in such films as Crimewave (1985), Shocker (1989), Darkman (1990), Lunatics: A Love Story (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Candyman (1992), Army of Darkness (1992), Clear and Present Danger (1994), Skinner (1995), Wishmaster (1997), For Love of the Game (1999), The Grudge (2004), Nice Guys (2005) and Reign Over Me (2007), as well as in brother Sam's Spider-Man films (2002; 2004; 2007). He will star opposite Thomas Kretschmann and William Baldwin in the upcoming Western movie titled High Midnight.
The Raimi Brothers
Childhood and Family:
“I could have been the 'Bra King of Michigan,' but I couldn't find a matching girdle.” Ted Raimi.
In Detroit, Michigan, Theodore (Ted) Raimi was born on December 14, 1965, to well-respected businesspeople parents. His father, Leonard Ronald Raimi, owned a chain of home furnishing stores, and his mother, Celia Barbara (Abrams) Raimi, ran a chain of lingerie shops. The youngest of four siblings, Ted has two older brothers: famed film director Sam Raimi (of Spiderman films) and Ivan Raimi (doctor; also involved in the film industry as a screenwriter and occasional contributor to Sam's movies; his writing credits include Army of Darkness and Darkman and who had co-creator credit for the recent TV series Spy Game), and an older sister. When Ted was young, Bruce Campbell was his babysitter.
A local DJ following high school, Ted pursued his higher education at Michigan State University, but transferred to the University of New York shortly afterwards. He eventually returned to his home state to attend the University of Detroit.
“I'm a huge science nut, although I wouldn't know how to fix a circuit or wire anything.” Ted Raimi.
A huge science nut, Ted also enjoys playing piano and trumpet (which he has played since he was a kid.) He also likes to invent board games for his friends. Ted, who said that he hates sports, is a huge Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings fan.
During his offs, Ted likes to ride bike, going to museum, reading historical literatures and great plays, listening to jazz music and watching horror movies. He also loves to shop for his vintage clothes collection.
“I like to ride my bike, I’ve got a big ol’ cruiser bike I poke that around LA a lot and I go to museums, I like the museum of Jurassic technology, my favorite museum in the world it happens to be in Los Angeles, not many people know about it, it’s a great museum. I like to read history, like Greek literature and roman literature, I enjoy it very much. I like reading great plays, watching great movies and I like Horror movies, I like seeing that. I like taking walks though I hate the beach, like the mountains so long as I don’t have to walk around the mountains. I like my city live, you know, I like concrete. I don’t go to clubs very often but I like jazz, I listen to jazz a lot. What else do I like to do…I like to collect vintage clothes, I have lots of those, I go out and buy tons of different clothes. I like late 50’s, early 60’s clothes the best. So it’s just fun, there’s a lot of people to shop for that stuff. Going out to lunch, dinner, having fun in LA.” Ted Raimi.
“I was just a kid going to visit my older brother while he was working really. So that wasn’t anything. I didn’t’ have a moment where a lot of actors say 'You know, I saw this in a movie and I had to be like that I had to do that with the rest of my life.' I never really had that moment. I picked up acting because I had no desire to work in an office. If I sat behind a desk I’d be dead. I’d kill myself, or just take an Armalite powered shotgun and blow away everyone in the office. I couldn’t possibly, possibly, do that. So it was the one thing I knew how to do well, I thought I was pretty good at it so I approached it from that angle and thought 'well, you can work in an office or be a salesman,' both are fine to do but they weren’t for me so I chose acting, and it’s been good to me. It’s been fun.” Ted Raimi.
Bitten by the acting bug as a child when he appeared as an extra in older brother Sam Raimi's early Super-8 films, Ted Raimi sharpened his talent in Sam's early hit films, including the horrors starring Bruce Campbell, Evil Dead (1981; Ted played a fake shemp) and Evil Dead II (1987; Ted co-starred as the possessed Henrietta). He recalled: “I was 12 when they made Evil Dead (1981), so I was just a kid. I didn’t have that much to do with it at all, but Evil Dead 2 (1987); I was 20 and that I do remember pretty well. It was a great introduction to making movies, because in those days there were very few independent films at all. Not everyone and their brother wanted to be a director so it was highly unusual for someone to be making an independent movie. Let me quell one misconception: Evil Dead was not an independent, Evil Dead was not a college student movie. A lot of people think that it was just 'fly by the seat of your pants' grab a camera and just ran into some abandoned cabin somewhere but it’s not that at all. It was a feature film with a fair, low budget -- but a budget that was bonded and insured. The cameras and things were rented so, it’s the real deal.”
Evil Dead has a worldwide cult following. And when asked why does he think the film is still so popular, even after all these years, Ted said: “I honestly don’t know, I can only speculate; I think the first thing is those movies are well made, they’re all well made. They have a tone in them that I think is often imitated and often seldom successfully duplicated. There’s a tone in them…there’s a tone of 'we’re half kidding and we’re half not kidding' but it’s still thrilling in a way. It’s a delicate mix, which is tough to do. Anyhow, I think the movies kind of win by default a little bit because there’s a tone of horror movies and not so many good ones and I think those are pretty good.”
In the second sequel to Evil Dead, Ted played the possessed Henrietta that made him covered head to toe in makeup. When asked if he would ever play the role again, he replied: “If I was paid enough. But you know when I was 20 and eager and stupid you didn’t have to pay me anything hardly. I’d do it in a heartbeat. You know now, in my late 30’s, I’d be like 'no way.'”
In between the Evil Dead films, Ted appeared in Josh Becker and Scott Spiegel's 7-minute mystery/comedy film Torro. Torro. Torro! (1981), alongside Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell, and in Sam's unusual slapstick mix of film noir, dark comedy Crimewave (1985; aka The XYZ Murders), starring Paul L. Smith, Louise Lasser and Brion James. He also reunited with Josh Becker in his low budget action/horror film, Stryker's War (1985; aka Thou Shalt Not Kill... Except), starred by brother Sam, and John Grissmer's horror flick Blood Rage (1987), in which he played a condom salesman.
Ted followed his brother Sam to Los Angeles in 1988 in hopes of breaking into the Hollywood scene. The next year, he co-starred with him in Scott Spiegel's suspense horror/thriller Intruder and played a role in brothers Sam and Ivan-written action/comedy movie Easy Wheels, starring Paul Le Mat, Eileen Davidson and Marjorie Bransfield. Ted eventually managed to get out of his older sibling's shadow by playing a bit part as Pac Man in writer/director Wes Craven's horror movie, Shocker (1989; starring Michael Murphy, Peter Berg and Mitch Pileggi), a low-budget film that has since become a cult classic. He also began appearing on TV, guest starring in an episode of Fox sci-fi series "Alien Nation" and NBC sitcom "ALF."
Entering the new decade, Ted reteamed with brother Sam again in his film based on a short story he wrote that paid homage to Universal horror films of the 1930s, Darkman (1990; starring Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand), in which he played a bad goon under Durant (played by Larry Drake), and landed his first starring role in long-time family friend and director/writer Josh Becker's flawed-but-entertaining psychological comedy. Lunatics: A Love Story (shot in 1989, not released until 1991; also featuring Evil Dead star Bruce Campbell), as a delusional and paranoid poet who falls in love with an equally disturbed country girl (played by Deborah Foreman). About the latter film, Ted commented: “It’s a solid drama with good solid characters and it’s well directed. Josh Becker did an excellent job with that picture, and there are very few movies like that. I think I probably would, maybe, dismiss it a little more if all stories had good stories and solid characters but very, very few do -- and that’s one that does.”
1992 saw Ted in several independent features, including Fred Gallo's thriller The Finishing Touch (alongside Arnold Vosloo), Scott Marcano's The Fountain Clowns, and Jeff Burr's drama/comedy Eddie Presley (starring Duane Whitaker). He was also cast alongside Harrison Ford in Phillip Noyce's adaptation of Tom Clancy's 1987 novel of the same name, Patriot Games, playing a satellite analyst in the CIA. He later reprised the role in its sequel, Clear and Present Danger (1994).
Meanwhile, Ted co-starred with Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd and Xander Berkeley in Bernard Rose's slasher film Candyman, and reunited with Bruce Campbell in brother Sam-directed comedy horror/adventure film, Army of Darkness (brother Ivan also co-wrote), a sequel to The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II in which he played cowardly warrior/second supportive villager/S-Mart clerk. On the small screen, he could be seen in two episodes of ABC Peabody and Golden Globe-winning serial drama "Twin Peaks" and in an episode of NBC popular drama series "Baywatch."
From 1993 to 1996, Ted played the regular role of Lt. j.g. Timothy O'Neill, the shy, but intelligent, multi-lingual communications officer, on NBC popular but short-lived sci-fi series about a futuristic submarine, "seaQuest DSV." He also co-wrote the script for a second-season episode of seaQuest titled "Lostland."
During his three-year stint in "seaQuest DSV," Ted also continued acting in films. He played small parts as a scared onlooker in Valerie Breiman's comedy Bikini Squad, a reporter in William Lustig and Joel Soisson's action/horror Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence (starring Robert Davi) and as a talk show host assistant in Luis Mandoki's remake of the 1950 film based on a play by Garson Kanin, Born Yesterday (starring Melanie Griffith, John Goodman and Don Johnson). He also appeared as a man on the street in John Woo's action/thriller starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Hard Target, as a sale salesman in writer/director Peter McCarthy's independent comedy starring James LeGros, Floundering, and as an interviewer in writer/director Michael Feit Dougan's independent boxing drama In This Corner.
Next, Ted supported writer/comedian Al Franken in Harold Ramis' comedy movie based on a series of popular "Saturday Night Live" sketches from the early-to-mid 1990s, Stuart Saves His Family, and played the title role of a soft-spoken normal-looking psychopath and serial killer/mutilator in Ivan Nagy's little-seen suspense horror/thriller classic Skinner (both in 1995). He also played a detective in writer/director Dan Bell's independent comedy feature, The Shot (1996). TV viewers could catch him in an episode of CBS supernatural drama series "American Gothic," executive produced by brother Sam, and in the Family Channel's Emmy-nominated telemovie Apollo 11 (1996).
Following the demise of "seaQuest DSV," Ted landed another regular role, this time in the syndicated supernatural drama series starring Lucy Lawless, "Xena: Warrior Princess." In the internationally successful show, produced by Renaissance Pictures co-founded by brother Sam, Ted played one of the title role's trusted best friends, Joxer the Mighty (1996-2001), a comical wanna-be warrior. Ted also wrote the original "Joxer The Mighty" song in Xena and has crossed over the Joxer role to the equally worldwide hit TV series, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” (starring Kevin Sorbo), on occasion (1997-1998).
“It was a wonderful time, difficult in that I was shooting and living in Aukland, New Zealand for six months of the year for six years. And let me tell you, that cost me a few relationships because of the distance. But that said, I loved the physicality of the character I was doing on Xena, the slapstick quality to it, I loved that. And the fact that it is now considered a worldwide cult hit that is still rerun everywhere – that’s pretty cool too.” Ted Raimi (on his experience while filming "Xena: Warrior Princess").
During his "Xena: Warrior Princess" years, Ted appeared in the films Wishmaster (1997), Robert Kurtzman's horror starring Andrew Divoff and Tammy Lauren, Between the Sheets (1998), Michael DeLuise's comedy starring Peter DeLuise and Lisa Rotondi, and Freak Talks About Sex (1999; released for home video as Blowin' Smoke), Paul Todisco's comedy inspired by Michael M.B. Galvin's novel starring Steve Zahn and Josh Hamilton. He also had a tiny role as gallery doorman in brother Sam's film adaptation of a novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Shaara, For Love of the Game (1999; starring Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston), and starred in Jenny Bright's 12-minute feature Growing Season (2000), and played a doctor in Jeremy Kasten's horror/thriller The Attic Expeditions (2001; starring Andras Jones and Seth Green). Meanwhile, he wrote a pilot for a live action/animated series called Normal Joe (1998), based on the short film of the same name that he starred in, and played various characters in the Emmy-winning talk-show parody series starring Martin Short, "Primetime Glick" (2001).
In 2002, Ted reunited with brother Sam in his hit superhero film based on the fictional Marvel Comics character, Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire. He played Hoffman in the successful film, and later reprised the role in its following installments: Spider-Man 2 (2004) and Spider-Man 3 (2007). About Spider-Man 2 (2004), he once said: “Spider-Man 2 is a sequel – a direct sequel because the characters and the setting is the same – but I’ll say that even though Spider-Man 2 has more soul and more depth than the original, it isn’t better than the original, because it cannot have that spectacular originality that the first had.”
In between those Spider-Man films, Ted appeared in Lee Madsen's indie feature Pledge of Allegiance (2003; starring Rena Owen and Freddy Rodríguez), Michael A. Goorjian's terrific drama Illusion (2004; starring Kirk Douglas), and Takashi Shimizu's remake of the Japanese film Ju-on: The Grudge, The Grudge (2004; starring Sarah Michelle Gellar; produced by brother Sam), in which he played the boss of a welfare center. About The Grudge, Ted once said: “I have to tell you that I didn’t really care for the Japanese original. I thought the pacing was kind of odd and it was a bit hard to get into. But that said, that film was made by filmmakers from another culture aimed at an entirely different audience than we have here in North America. So to remake it directly would be pointless. We took the basic premise, the story, and the basic characters, and adapted it. And it was great fun to make in that there was no pressure on me at all, I was asked to do it, said yes, and had a great time doing it. For a working actor that is a dream come true.”
“I have been busy. Well, these last two years I’ve mostly been doing movies -- almost exclusively. I had time to do 1 TV show which was CSI:NY.” Ted Raimi.
On the small screen, Ted provided the voice of Skoodge/Holographic Alien Head on Nickelodeon's animated TV series "Invader Zim" and appeared in an episode of Showtime's sci-fi series "Odyssey 5." He was also spotted as a guest in a February 2005 episode of CBS cop drama "CSI: NY."
Back to the big screen, Ted played a special agent in Joe Eckardt's comedy starring Jason Mewes, Lacey Chabert and Andy Dick, Nice Guys, which Ted claimed as his best acting job. He said: “I think my best acting work was probably in this movie I just shot. Produced by Danny Trejo called Nice Guys (2005), it’s a comedy, and that’s coming out next year. I play another FBI guy -- you know -- another actor posing as an FBI guy so it’s really fun and that’s been the most fun.”
That same year, he reunited with Bruce Campbell in his feature film directorial debut, the science fiction/slapstick film Man with the Screaming Brain (written by brother Sam), in which he co-starred as the assistant of a doctor (played by Stacy Keach). He said: “The Man With the Screaming Brain (2005) is coming out next month on the SciFi channel and it stars Me and Bruce Campbell and Stacy Keech, and I hope you see it and like it, and I think it will be out on DVD too at, sometime in October I think, Halloween it’s coming out on DVD.”
Ted was subsequently cast in two independent comedy films, Melissa Balin's Freezerburn (2005), as an FBI agent, and in David O'Malley's Kalamazoo? (2006), playing an angel. About the earlier film, he revealed: “Freezerburn (2005) is about, um…best way to describe that movie. It’s about the making of a movie sort of a … it’s an indie movie about the making of a movie. This has-been actress comes back after many years to make a movie and she’s just a horror, and it turns itself into kind of a bizarre movie where she finally gets so crazy on the set that she winds up killing the AD’s and set decorators and…you know, it’s a fun silly movie and I play an FBI agent, I play a lot of FBI guys these days I don’t know why, so anyways I get to be in my late 30’s and I stop playing SciFi, I stop playing like computer geeks and all of a sudden I’m these heavies.”
As for Kalamazoo? (2006), Ted said: “Obviously it was shot in Kalamazoo by Dave O’Malley who directed me in “Easy Wheels” which was a million years ago, and Dave’s from Detroit and Josie Bisset’s in it and she’s cute and good and everything and I play an angel, I’m like this…I’m an angel I have a white suit and heaven and these old ladies who are near death are dying and need someone to talk to so I come and visit them; very bizarre. It’s really offbeat casting, obviously.”
He also provided his voice for character Sam in the video games Evil Dead: Regeneration (2005). Ted said: “Me and Bruce (Campbell) do voices for Evil Dead 4: Regenerations and I’m his half-deadite sidekick, who goes around with Ash killing other Deadites and it’s a really fun one. It’s been given a great look and it’s pretty cool, cool technology and I’m excited to play the darn thing, I have only the samples of it but it should be pretty cool. It was fun to do, I love doing voice-overs…one of my favorite things to do. I had a great time with it.”
Recently, moviegoers watched Ted in writer/director Mike Binder's drama Reign Over Me, starring Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, Saffron Burrows and Binder himself, and in actor/director Bruce Campbell's horror/comedy My Name Is Bruce. He also co-starred with Clare Stevenson in Andrew Bellware's sci-fi thriller Millennium Crisis.
On television, Ted was spotted as a guest in an episode of Showtime horror/thriller series "Masters of Horror" and G4 animated series "Code Monkeys." He also acted opposite Steven Bauer, Peter Jason and Vanessa Angel in the science fiction made-for-television movie Planet Raptor: Raptor Island 2. About the telemovie, he said: “It’s me and Peter Jason and Vanessa Angel, and I’m the bad guy again. Lot of bad guys lately. It’s fun. It’s good fun, I like playing bad guys. It’s much more interesting than playing good guys. So that was a good picture. We shot that in Romania, earlier this year, in Bucharest.”
Ted is currently on set filming his upcoming film project with director Mary Lambert, High Midnight, a Western movie starring Thomas Kretschmann and William Baldwin.
On stage, Ted once did a play called “The Foreigner” at Meadowbrook Theatre in Michigan. And when asked if he would go back to theater, Ted replied: “Oh yeah! Oh absolutely I’d go back. I loved doing theater. Love it, love it, love it, love it, love it, love it. I’m much more a theater actor than a film actor. Theater isn’t paying shit, so…I’m a film actor. If theatre, I think, if theater paid as much as film did, I would seriously consider changing up and just do plays.”
Ted also serves as contributing interviewee to Bruce Campbell's autobiography: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor.
“Five to ten years, let’s see. Well, getting in my 1963 Cadillac as I leave my studio, which is mine, that I started five years earlier…I look at the floor of my Cadillac and I see a 500 dollar bill, which I left there. I also see five bagels that were five years old, and I drive to my girlfriends house, who is 5 years younger than me, then I look at my bank statement and that’s got 5 million dollars in it and then I look in the mirror and I’m 5 years younger. Pretty much that’s where I’d like to be. I’d also like to be making TV because I think that’s, but I want to be producing it I’m sort of, I love acting and acting’s become a little more of a side thing for me these days and producing is becoming more important.” Ted Raimi.