Stephen F. Campbell, Director of Photography on The Walking Dead, Dies at 65

Stephen Campbell, who served as a camera operator and director of photography for seven seasons of The Walking Dead, has died. He was 65. Campbell, whose credits include The Punisher and Zombieland, died on November 4 at his home in Florida, his daughter, Aubrie, shared on Facebook. A cause of death was not announced. Campbell's most recent credit as director of photography was the original Season 10 finale of The Walking Dead, "A Certain Doom," which premiered October 2020 on AMC. Campbell's first credit on the zombie drama was as a C camera operator on the Season 4 episode "Dead Weight" in 2013.

"For seven seasons of zombies and apocalyptic mayhem, he created genre-defining imagery for the hit television show. He was so, so proud of that work [on The Walking Dead]," reads a post from Campbell's daughter, Aubrie Campbell Canfield, announcing his death on Facebook

A graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, Campbell worked at a camera rental house for six months before getting his "first big break" as a camera assistant on Michael Jackson's Victory Tour in 1984. Campbell returned to Florida as a freelancer before reuniting with Jackson for his Bad Tour in 1986 and 1987, later becoming a camera assistant and operator on such productions as Superboy, Psycho IV: The Beginning, The Waterboy, Mortal Combat: Conquest, Monster, The Punisher, The Sopranos, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Zombieland, and Last Man Standing. 

Alternating episodes of The Walking Dead with camera operator and cinematographer Michael E. Satrazemis, Campbell served as director of photography on nearly 40 episodes of the hit AMC series. Campbell's credits include the acclaimed Season 4 episode "The Grove," snowy Season 9 finale "The Storm," and Season 10 episodes "We Are the End of the World" and "Ghosts." 

Campbell's family remembers him as a loving husband, the father of five children, and an acclaimed cinematographer. He's survived by his wife, Pamela, three young grandchildren, and his five children: Aubrie Canfield, Ian Campbell, Cameron Ilan, Fiona Campbell, and Riley Campbell. 

"Steve Campbell embodied a complete filmmaker on every level," Satrazemis, now a director-producer on spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, wrote in a tribute to Campbell published on Instagram. "The day we were introduced to each other we spoke in the language of creation for an hour straight and decided we would work together to create something special on The Walking Dead. As I moved into Directing and Steve took my place as the Cinematographer we created many of my favorite episodes of the show."

"He was kind, smart, talented and always fought the good fight. He will last forever in our hearts and minds through the beautiful little movies that will last beyond us all," Satrazemis wrote. "We love you much @stephenfcampbell44." 

In 2015, the Society of Camera Operators nominated Campbell for a Camera Operator of the Year Award for his work on The Walking Dead. In 2016, Campbell spoke to the American Society of Cinematographers about his decades-long career, working as a documentary filmmaker, and his photographic approach to multiple seasons of The Walking Dead. 

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Those who knew Campbell are encouraged to share memories on Facebook. His family will host a "wake-style potluck" in honor of Campbell in Winter Park, Florida, on Monday, November 8. 

Campbell's family also welcomes contributions to his legacy garden via Venmo @Stephen-Campbell-Legacy.