This tall, lanky blond actor-singer-dancer who has achieved success on television and the stage, co-starring in a long-running CBS crime series ("Jake and the Fatman") and earning a 1995 Tony nomination as the gigolo screenwriter Joe Gillis in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicalization of "Sunset Boulevard".
Native Floridian Alan Campbell actually began his career as a rock musician. While still in high school, he and his band performed at local clubs and conventions. Although he enrolled at Tulane as a pre-med student, the limelight proved too alluring and Campbell ended up performing professionally. Returning to his home state, he caught the attention of noted choreographer June Taylor who in turn recommended him to singer Wayne Newton. Within weeks of graduating college, Campbell found himself in Las Vegas assisting in the creation and staging of Newton's nightclub act. For the next two years, he appeared on stage 18 times per week singing, dancing and playing numerous musical instruments. A node on his vocal cords required him to abandon the strenuous performing schedule, so he decamped to Hollywood to try his luck as an actor.
Shortly after arriving in L.A., Campbell landed his first prominent role in the TV-movie "Red Flag: The Ultimate Game" (CBS, 1981). A role on the NBC daytime serial "Another World" took the actor to the East Coast and he soon began to dabble in theater, appearing Off-Broadway in "Boogie Woogie Rumble of a Dream Deferred" in 1982 and later at Washington, DC's Ford Theatre in "On Shiloh Hill". The West Coast beckoned again when Campbell was cast as the laid-back surfer chef E Z Taylor on the ABC spin-off sitcom "Three's a Crowd" (1984-85), starring John Ritter. After racking up guest appearances on several sitcoms and dramas, he returned to regular series work as Derek Mitchell, the wide-eyed assistant to William Conrad's attorney J L 'Fatman' McCabe on the popular detective series "Jake and the Fatman" (CBS, 1987-92).
Within a year of the series' demise, Campbell had landed the role that would make him a matinee idol to theatergoers. In a bold and unprecedented move, the producers of the musical version of "Sunset Boulevard" had planned to open a company in L.A. before the London version transferred to Broadway. The critical reaction to the London production, however, was mixed while the Los Angeles one was better received. The producers then took the unusual step of deciding to scrap plans to take the London cast (headed by Patti LuPone and Kevin Anderson) to Broadway and instead allow the California cast (Glenn Close and Campbell) to open the show in NYC. The 1994-95 Broadway musical season was fairly dismal and "Sunset Boulevard" stood out as the only new successful hit. Campbell essayed the role of Joe Gillis (William Holden's film role) and got to deliver the jazz-inflected title number at the start of the second act. Although some felt he lacked the requisite sex appeal and projected too sullen a persona, Campbell emerged as a viable musical theater lead. He remained with the show for its entire three-year run, eventually playing opposite Betty Buckley and Elaine Paige as well.
Now a bona fide musical star, Campbell opted to explore other challenges. A small role in "A Simple Wish" (1997) did nothing to jump-start a film career so the actor returned to the stage to co-star in the 1999 world premiere of Lanford Wilson's drama "Book of Days". The following year, Campbell was back on the boards in NYC playing a Catholic priest who unsurprisingly refuses to perform a same sex union in the Off-Broadway production "Avow".