Campbell was born in Toronto, Ontario. Campbell's mother, Marnie (née Neve), is a yoga instructor and psychologist from Amsterdam, Netherlands, who also ran a theatre in Guelph, Ontario. His father, Gerry Campbell, a British immigrant to Canada from the East End of Glasgow, Scotland, taught high school drama classes in Mississauga, Ontario — first at Westwood Secondary School (now Lincoln M. Alexander Secondary School), later at Lorne Park Secondary School, and now at Erindale Secondary School. Campbell's maternal grandparents ran a theatre company in the Netherlands and his paternal grandparents were also performers. On his mother's side, Campbell descends from Sephardi Jews who immigrated to the Netherlands and converted to Catholicism.
Campbell's parents divorced when he was three years old. His siblings are actress Neve Campbell, actor Alex Campbell, and Damian McDonald. He and his sister, Neve, resided largely with their father (who received custody of the two), with regular periods at their mother's home. Born into an acting family (his maternal grandparents having been actors in Amsterdam) and his father an acting teacher, Campbell began training at an early age. He was acting professionally by the age of fourteen and attended Claude Watson School for the Arts in Toronto, Ontario.
Campbell starred in the gay-themed romantic comedy Trick in 1999. The feature film was a Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominated film. It grossed the most per-screen average for a gay-themed film at the time. In celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of the picture, Campbell spoke of the social climate at the time and how he, a straight actor, had taken on a gay role. "Having been in that movie... opened up a community," he said. "The gay community was incredibly supportive of me."
In 2001, Campbell teamed up with Trick co-star John Paul Pitoc in the feature-film Thank You, Good Night, co-starring with Mark Hamill and Sally Kirkland. He then starred in the 2004 short film Pretty Dead Girl. In 2009, Campbell starred in the feature film Neighbor along with America Olivo, who would later become his wife. He played conservative American political activist Ralph Reed in the 2010 movie Casino Jack.
Campbell starred along with Amy Smart in director Russell Friedenberg's 2014 feature film Among Ravens.
At the age of 16, Campbell made his television debut on the Canadian television series Degrassi High. Campbell's first starring role was in the television movie City Boy, in which he starred alongside James Brolin and Sarah Chalke. Campbell then starred in the 1995 ABC telefilm Picture Perfect. He moved to the United States in 1995 where he was soon cast as Teddy Delacourt in producer Aaron Spelling's primetime teen drama/soap opera Malibu Shores.
Campbell joined the cast of The $treet in 2000 as Tim Sherman. He then starred in the science fiction-action animated series Max Steel from 2000-2002, providing the voice of the protagonist, Josh McGrath, a 19-year-old fictional extreme sports star. Campbell joined All My Children as the recast Bobby Warner from 2004 to 2005, replacing Brian Gaskill for the role after a seven-year absence for the character. Along with Shannon Elizabeth, he starred in the 2008 made-for-TV movie You Belong To Me.
Before its abrupt cancellation, he had a starring role in the NBC drama The Book of Daniel.
In May 2010, Campbell had a guest-starring role as victim Ben Rooney in CSI: Miami season 8, episode 21, "Meltdown".
In 2013, Campbell joined the cast of the Lifetime original movie An Amish Murder, in which he played the brother of Kate Burkholder, who was played by his real life sister, Neve Campbell.
Campbell has a recurring role in the second season of HBO's True Detective. He can also be seen playing the villain Pierce Peters in the 2015 Disney Channel Original Movie Bad Hair Day.
Campbell's theatre training began early and was extensive due to his father being an acting teacher and his mother's acting background.
His earliest acting roles were on the stage for his father's panto productions for the Association for Scottish Traditions and Arts in Etobicoke, Ontario. Campbell said of his early work with his father that "Dad was always throwing Neve and me on the stage. The pantos are comedies, sort of fantasies-sometimes fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk. In these shows there's a lot of humor, and always a cross-dresser. That's part of the genre." His first starring role on the stage was as the role of Nick in A Thousand Clowns, which was held at his mother's dinner theatre. He then toured Europe in the early 1990s, acting in stage plays such as Der Ritter Von Mirakel and A Clockwork Orange at the Schaulspielhaus, Nürnberg.
Shortly after his move to Los Angeles in 1995, Campbell co-founded the theatre company Blue Sphere Alliance. He began producing stage plays while working as an actor. Campbell made his directorial debut with Reach, a one-act play that starred Matthew Lillard and Sandra Thigpen.
In 2000, Campbell produced his first off-Broadway play, Trust, in New York City. Campbell starred in Reefer Madness in 2001 with then newcomer Kristen Bell. He then joined ill-fated Rent playwright Jonathan Larson in tick... tick... BOOM! in 2002, which he has played on a national tour of the United States and in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory (July – September 2005). Campbell went on to work on Great Expectations with Kathleen Chalfant in 2004.
In July 2015 it was announced that Campbell would lead the cast of Harold Chapin's The New Morality at the Mint Theater.
Campbell has been a photographer for the last two decades and showcases his work on his personal website.
He currently sits on the board of directors of the Players Club in New York City.
He served as producer and director of the documentary concert series Live from Gramercy Park and is the producer and director of the Broadway Dreams documentary series. Both series are produced by Campbell and wife America Olivo's production company EsoteriCam Productions.
Campbell met his wife, actress America Olivo, in 2009 on the set of the horror film Neighbor. They were engaged after two weeks. Five months later, they were married in a ceremony on Lake Como in Lombardy, Italy. The Campbells welcomed daughter Indira Rose Campbell on January 12, 2012. Unfortunately, Indira died three days later due to the genetic condition Edwards syndrome. After facing infertility issues of their own, Campbell and his wife America Olivo decided to become spokespeople for the BabyQuest Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is "dedicated to helping couples and/or individuals build families through advanced fertility treatments such as IUI, IVF, egg donation, embryo donation, and gestational surrogacy."
Campbell became a U.S. citizen in 2008 and holds passports for Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.Ovation Award for Lead Performance in Reefer Madness
Ovation Nomination for Best Actor in Nagasaki Dust
Degrassi High (1990) – Todd (1 episode)
Clarence (1990; TV) (as Chris Campbell) – Larry
3x3 eyes (Manga Entertainment Version) (1991; V) – Yakumo Fujii (voice: English version)
School's Out (1992; TV) – Todd
City Boy (1992; TV) – Nick
Born to Run (1993; TV) – Jamie
Matrix (1993) – Tony Lusano (1 episode)
TekWar (1995–1996) – Danny Cardigan (4 episodes)
Picture Perfect (1995; TV) – Alan Walters
Side Effects (1995) – Drew Armstrong (1 episode)
7th Heaven (1996) – Terry Daniels (1 episode)
Malibu Shores (1996) – Teddy Delacourt (10 episodes)
Seduced by Madness: The Diane Borchardt Story (1996) – Doug Vest (2 episodes)
Hairshirt (1998) – Adam Lipton
I've Been Waiting for You (1998; TV) – Eric Garrett
Next Time (1998) – Matt
Cruel Justice (TV) (1999) – Dean Joiner
Trick (1999) – Gabriel
Cold Hearts (1999) – John Luke
Max Steel (2000-2002) – Max Steel (33 episodes)
Angels! (2000) – Joe Bogsley
Plead (2001) – Alan
The Good Things (2001) – Rob Fambrough
The $treet (2000–2001) – Tim Sherman (12 episodes)
Thank You, Good Night (2001) – Lee
Who Is A.B.? (2001)
Red Faction II (2002; VG) – Alias (voice)
Jeremiah (2002) – Reece Davenport (1 episode)
The Piano Man's Daughter (2003; TV) – Charlie Kilworth
Blue Murder (2003) – Steff Marable (1 episode)
The Atwood Stories (2003) – Richard (1 episode)
Chaos Legion (2003; VG) – Sieg Wahrheit (voice: English version)
All My Children (2004–2005) – Robert 'Bobby' Thorne Warner #4 (9 episodes)
Pretty Dead Girl (2004) – Mortie
Max Steel: Endangered Species (2004; V) – Max Steel
Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical (2005) – Jimmy Harper
Max Steel: Forces of Nature (2005; V) – Max Steel
Max Steel: Countdown (2006; V) – Max Steel
Banshee (2006; TV) – Larch
The Book of Daniel (2006) – Peter Webster (8 episodes)
Max Steel: Dark Rival (2007; V) – Max Steel
One Night (2007) – Gregg
CSI: NY (2007) – Noah Hubler (1 episode)
You Belong to Me (2008; TV) – Michael McBride
Max Steel: Bio Crisis (2008; V) – Max Steel
Navy NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service (2008) – Nick Kingston (1 episode, Heartland 2008)
Ghost Whisperer (2008) – Lucas Marston (1 episode)
The Betrayed (2008 film) (2008) – Kevin
The Verdict (2008 film) (2008; TV) – Rob
Ibid (2008) – Lionel
Immortal Island (2009) – Agent Ron Cecil
Clear Blue Tuesday (2009) – Obnoxious Co-Worker
Neighbor (2009) – Don Carpenter
CSI: Miami (2010) – Ben Rooney (1 episode)
Casino Jack (2010) – Ralph Reed
Big Love (2011) – Greg Ivey (9 episodes)
Malorie's Final Score (2012) – Client #1
Unkindness of Ravens (2012) – Will
Drawing Home (2012) – Cliff Whyte
Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire (2012) – Bram
Sworn to Silence (2012) – Jacob
Haven (2013) – Ben Harker Jr. (2 episodes)
Supernatural (2013) – James Frampton
Darkroom (2013) – Larry
True Detective (2015) – Richard Brune
Bad Hair Day (2015) – Pierce