Samuel M "Sam" Raimi (born October 23, 1959) is an American film director, producer, writer and actor, best known for directing the cult horror comedy Evil Dead series, the superhero film Darkman, and the Spider-Man trilogy; his most recent work is 2013's fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful. Raimi is also the producer of several successful television series. He is also the founder of Renaissance Pictures. Recently, he worked as the producer of The Possession, and the 2013 remake of Evil Dead.
He is the younger brother of screenwriter Ivan Raimi and the older brother of actor Ted Raimi.
Raimi, the fourth of five children, was born in Royal Oak, Michigan, and grew up in Birmingham, Michigan. He was raised in Conservative Judaism; his ancestors emigrated from Russia and Hungary. Raimi graduated from Groves High School and later went on to attend Michigan State University, where he majored in English but left after three semesters to film The Evil Dead. He is actor Ted Raimi's older brother.
Raimi became fascinated with making films when his father brought a movie camera home one day and he began to make Super 8 movies with childhood friend Bruce Campbell. In college, he teamed up with his brother's roommate Robert Tapert and Campbell to shoot Within the Woods (1978), a 32-minute horror film which raised $375,000, as well as the short comedic film It's Murder! Through family, friends, and a network of investors Raimi was able to finance production of the highly successful horror film The Evil Dead (1981) which became a cult hit and effectively launched Raimi's career. He began work on his second film Crimewave (1985), intended as a live-action comic book—the film was not successful, due in part to unwanted studio intervention. Raimi returned to the horror genre with the seminal Evil Dead II (which added slapstick humor to the over the top horror, showcasing his love of the Three Stooges). With his brother Ivan Raimi (and crediting himself as Celia Abrams), Sam Raimi also wrote Easy Wheels (1989), a parody of the Outlaw biker film genre. A long-time comic book buff, he then attempted to adapt "The Shadow" into a movie, but was unable to secure the rights, so he created his own super-hero, Darkman (1990). The film was his first major studio picture, and was only moderately successful, but through it he was still able to secure funding for Evil Dead III, which was retitled Army of Darkness and turned away almost totally from horror in favor of fantasy and comedy elements. Army of Darkness, the final movie in the Evil Dead trilogy, was a box office flop, yet on video became a cult classic.
In the 1990s, Raimi moved into other genres, directing such films as the western The Quick and the Dead (starring Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman), the critically acclaimed crime thriller A Simple Plan (1998) (starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton), and the romantic drama For Love of the Game (1999) (starring Kevin Costner). Raimi achieved great critical and commercial success with the blockbuster Spider-Man (2002), which was adapted from the comic book series of the same name. The movie has grossed over $800 million worldwide, spawning two sequels: Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, both directed by Raimi and both grossing roughly $800 million each. After the completion of the third Spider-Man film, he planned on producing two more sequels but could not find a satisfactory script. Raimi is slated to direct a film adaptation of The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. Prior to directing the Spider-Man films, Raimi lobbied to direct Batman Forever when Tim Burton was ousted from the director's chair, but was rejected in favor of Joel Schumacher, whose reputation at the time outshone Raimi's.