Karl Campbell is a man of many dimensions with a versatile image, a suave sophistication and worldly perspective. His physical appearance conveys an air of debonair, strength and health, surely commanding the attention of each room he sets foot into.
The burning desire to be the best and compete with the finest was crafted at an early age for Karl, as he excelled in a variety of sports. His childhood and teens were consumed with sporting activities year round. Karl participated in track & field in the spring, baseball in the summer, football in the fall, hockey and basketball in the winter. This active lifestyle not only helped to create a great physical appearance but more importantly they helped develop Karl’s positive mental attitude towards life.
“The importance of family, teamwork and perseverance were all valuable lessons learned while engaged in sporting activities throughout my life. They all helped to create a healthy competitive spirit and gave me the confidence to set my goals for a higher level of achievement.”
One such goal was the accomplishment of being awarded an athletic scholarship to Jacksonville University to play baseball for the Jacksonville Dolphins. This goal would not have happened without the full support of family, close friends and teammates who helped to provide guidance, tutelage and moral support to a young athlete adjusting to a new life south of the Canadian border.
Ironically it was the ability to excel in sports that brought Karl into to the world of film, as a few years later he was approached by an agent and asked to audition as a player for a film called the Joe Torre Story. This film chronicled the events of the New York Yankee’s manager at the time, Joe Torre, as he battled personal strife amid the World Series. Being on a film set felt strangely familiar and comfortable for this novice actor as he excelled and was encouraged and inspired to pursue acting eventually signing with a small boutique agency called the Players Group.
He quickly earned another role in the TV series FX playing the role of twins. The show, shot in his native Toronto, Canada was based on at the successful feature film of the same name.
“Looking back I felt that getting the opportunity to play a role like that was very symbolic as I was born under the star sign of Gemini and also have a twin sister. I felt that I was fully capable of channeling the emotional commitment that the role required.”
The high of just completing a film project was quickly replaced with the stark reality of the industry. After completing the twin role on FX Karl quickly learned a valuable lesson. Acting roles and opportunities were few and far between for novice actors who were not completely prepared. Studying the craft had to become a top priority, in order to succeed.
Under the guidance of acting coach Earl Nanhu, Karl refocused and embarked on a journey not only into the world of film but also onto a path of self-discovery and enlightenment.
“Earl taught me that in order to understand the complex dynamics of a script a person first had to understand themselves and their relationships with the world around them. By using the aspect of spirituality and applying it to the art of Acting I was able to quickly understand that the world of film was much more than just spoken words. It was really all about understanding the simple moments in life and recreating them the way the author truly intended them to be.”
After studying the art form for a number of years and playing various small roles on screen in such shows as La Femme Nikita, Relic Hunter, Earth Final conflict and Soul Food the first true breakthrough of Karl’s acting career occurred when auditioned for actor/director Vondie Curtis Hall. From this audition, Karl was invited to play the character Deuce-five in the film Redemption starring Academy Award Winner Jamie Foxx. This film was based on the true-life story of Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee and notorious leader of the LA based street gang, The Crips.
“This film was symbolic to my development as an actor because it signaled to me that I was going to get the opportunity to act with A-list talent as long as I continued to work hard and improved my skills.”
The film premiered at the Sundance film festival and went on to be nominated for 19 awards, winning 11 of them. Jamie Foxx was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work. Karl played an integral role in establishing a solid character as the antagonist in several key scenes to which Foxx could play off.
The entertainment scene has always allowed for a number of unique opportunities especially for those who are multi dimensional and ambitious. Partnered with a few young entrepreneurs in the fashion industry and entertainment industry, Karl significantly contributed to the movement of cultural awareness currently happening within the Toronto entertainment scene. More importantly he has branched out to also run a successful security company focusing on providing bodyguard services to entertainers working in the Toronto Market. Over the last 10 years Karl has also served as the personal bodyguard for the Grammy award-winning singer Nelly Furtado.
“I’ve learned that the key to life is to surround yourself with successful people. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work and learn from great industry professionals. Serving as Nelly’s bodyguard has offered me a wealth of knowledge that I’ve been able to apply to the craft of Acting. Acting is a reflection of real life under imaginary circumstances so with every place I’ve traveled to its helped me to understand more of the human condition.”