01. Steven L. Sears, co-executive producer and writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
02. Claire Stansfield, actor, "Alti", Xena: Warrior Princess
03. Bret Ryan Rudnick, correspondent
04. Paul Robert Coyle, writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
05. Beth Gern, president, Kevin Smith Fan Club
06. Alexandra Tydings, actor, "Aphrodite", Xena: Warrior Princess
07 & 08. Ryan Gosling and Dean O'Gorman, actors, "Young Hercules"/"Young Iolaus", Young Hercules
09. Adrienne Wilkinson, actor, "Eve/Livia", Xena: Warrior Princess
10. Ted Raimi, actor, "Joxer", Xena: Warrior Princess
11. Mike Levine, director, Xena: Warrior Princess
12. Robert Trebor, actor, "Salmoneus", Xena: Warrior Princess
13. Chloe Smith, producer, Xena: Warrior Princess
14. Josh Becker, director, Xena: Warrior Princess
15. R.J. Stewart, executive producer and writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
16. Michael Hurst, actor and director, "Iolaus", Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
17. Simon Prast, director of the Auckland Theatre Company
18. Danielle Cormack, actor, "Ephiny", Xena: Warrior Princess
19. Renee O'Connor, actor, "Gabrielle", Xena: Warrior Princess
20. Danielle Walther, aide to Kevin Smith, 1998 Burbank Xena Convention
21. Jeremy Callaghan, actor, "Palaemon/Pompei", Xena: Warrior Princess
22. Lori Joyce, president, Joel Tobeck Fan Club
23. Kieren Hutchison, actor, "Talus", Xena: Warrior Princess
24. Kevin Sorbo, actor and director, "Hercules", Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
25. Lucy Lawless, actor, "Xena", Xena: Warrior Princess
26. Robert Tapert, executive producer, director, and writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
27. Melissa Good, Writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
28. Robert Bruce, Agent for Kevin Smith
Steven L. Sears
Co-executive producer and writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
Kevin was a big man. Big, handsome, strong, forceful and, as a result of that, so damn intimidating when you first saw him from across the room. Just to walk up and say something to him took a bit of courage. That is until he focused those intense eyes on you. Then they'd wrinkle a bit as the smile crept across his face and he'd give you a nod and welcome you in. Suddenly, he was your best friend, even if you had never met him before in your life. It didn't matter, he was open and friendly to all. I remember sitting with him in a small restaurant in Washington, D.C. We were all talking and chatting and the waitresses were all gawking and staring. He was getting quite a bit of attention, but it didn't get to him. He was polite and charming to everyone. Now keep in mind this was a superstar in training. I can't think of one person who ever met Kevin who didn't think he wasn't destined to hit the top! I'm not sure when I last spoke to Kevin, but the memory that is the most vivid is when I saw him at Lucy [Lawless] and Rob's [Tapert] wedding. I commented on how much of a superstar he had become among the Xena fans. And this huge, sexy, talented actor reacted in a very strange manner for huge, talented, sexy actors: he blushed. "Git on, mate!" was all he said with shy smile and a wave of his hand. It just never got to him. That's how I'm going to remember him.
Actor, "Alti", Xena: Warrior Princess
My first meeting with Kevin Smith was at a Creation Entertainment Convention almost 3 years ago. I didn't know a soul and decided to call the other guest to see if they wanted to hit the theme parks and have a few drinks. Well, little did I know I would not only meet my new best friend Miss Danielle Cormack but I was also about to meet my one and only school girl crush!! I called Kevin's room introduced myself and was promptly invited down "mate" to go and have a few (dozen) bevies!!!
I was a little apprehensive as I didn't know these two people and as I knocked on his hotel room door I was almost tempted to run! But then the door swung open and there before me stood the most tall, dark and handsome ... not to mention friendly, warm and inviting man I had ever seen!! Thank god Danny was sitting on the balcony in plain site behind him, or else I might have pounced...
Needless to say stories were exchanged (under Mickey and Minnie photos and over many margaritas) and the pictures of his boys and lovely wife came out. My school girl crush now took a back seat to a warm fuzzy feeling every time I was near him and I knew I had found a life long friend. Who cares that I would stand a wee bit too close for photos and that I would smile until my face hurt in his presence. A girl can dream..
I am still dreaming about Kevin and I think I always will..
Bret Ryan Rudnick
correspondent for Whoosh!
I have so many fond memories of Kevin that as I leaf through them in my mind it's hard to fight back tears. Even though we met initially due to my association with Whoosh!, we continued to run into each other due to some of my other work and we became friends and would socialise from time to time in Auckland or Los Angeles.
As I've mentioned before, Kev was the absolute epitome of the term "gentleman". And he was also a gentle man. I've seen him at work on the set and he was the consummate professional. I've seen him at conventions, answering each question asked of him with equal import and care. One particular time a young lady went to the microphone at a convention to ask him a question and she just froze -- she so admired Kevin and had such a crush on him that when at last the object of her affection was before her, she could get no words out. Kevin smiled, gave her a hug, and comforted her as she cried and shook and finally withdrew, defeated by her emotion. In the four years I knew Kevin he was always surprised that women found him attractive and were interested in him.
I've also seen Kevin shine with children. A good friend of mine reminded me of an incident at a convention where a child handed him a drawing of Ares at the beginning of his appearance, and Kevin looked at it, beamed, and did not let go of it the entire time he was on stage. I've also seen Kevin visit children who were unable to see him or call fans to say "Gidday" who were unable to come to a convention due to illness or disability.
In fact, even as I write this note, as I think of all the great times we had and all the good I saw him do, it is difficult to type. In my previous editorials and articles, I've shared different memories, but for this exercise, I will share my very last memory of the man.
This was in Auckland, shortly before Kevin was to go to China to shoot his film.
One thing that Kev and I had in common was an appreciation for red wines. On many previous occasions we'd sampled this or that vintage and relished the sheer joys of the grape and its products.
A suitable place to indulge in this pasttime is a wonderful pub in Auckland that has an impressive list of kiwi reds. The pub itself is adjacent to a magnificently restored theatre, and in fact, used to be a part of that structure. The subdued decor and lighting feature the room itself, and place less of an emphasis on the patrons, so it is the perfect place for conversation, relaxation, and reflection. One can blend into the background or be part of a given group at will.
This particular evening was exceptional. It had been a lovely and productive day, and now was the time for friends and chat. Kevin and I perused the lengthy wine list, which featured a brief description of each potential choice.
"Well, Bret, what shall we start with?" Kev asked.
Looking at the menu I responded "I see some nice things here. Should we ease into it with something light or just dive right into the deep end with a Merlot?"
Kevin rubbed his chin. "So many choices. But there's plenty of time. We can sort of dapple our toes and wade in gradually. But then there's something to be said for the unbridled joy of sheer excess."
I read more of the menu and pointed to a selection. "Well for starters, look at this Pinot Noir. But I have my doubt about what the text is claiming."
Kevin read from where my finger pointed. "'...better than sex!'" His eyes twinkled and he added, "Of course, we must investigate the justifiability of such a claim!"
So we did. Although very nice, the wine did not in fact live up to its promise, but we did have fun trying.
And that's how it always was with Kevin. Fun. The man exuded a joi de vivre and love for his fellow humans that I've never seen equalled. The planet is definitely a poorer place without him.
Paul Robert Coyle
Writer, Xena: Warrior Princess
It goes without saying that Kevin Smith was an invaluable asset to both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Personally, he was in no less than eight episodes I wrote (including my first Xena, TEN LITTLE WARLORDS, and my first Hercules, THE END OF THE BEGINNING. For the record, he appeared in one of my shows, WAR WOUNDS, not as Ares but as Hercules' mortal brother, Iphicles. Actually, I believe that was his first role for Renaissance [Pictures], in an earlier Hercules.)
Recurring villains are tough to pull off, on any show. One of the problems is that when a particular actor proves popular in a role and comes back again and again, he or she often loses the sense of menace that made them unique in the first place. (I might cite "Q" on Star Trek as an example.) And on top of that when they're equally good at comedy, as Kevin was, how do you bring them back next time and expect them to be threatening? Yet somehow Kevin always managed to pull it off.
Now as much as I loved writing for Ares, I'll be candid and admit there were times I felt his character was overused, for the reasons I mentioned. Often he'd be back- to-back on both Hercules and Xena in a given week. Whenever a story wasn't working because there wasn't a formidable enough foe for Hercules, Rob [Tapert] would suggest throwing Ares into the mix. My reaction was usually, "Look, Kevin Smith's great and that's why Ares is so effective, but how many times can he keep coming back and getting his *ss kicked by Herc before he wears out his welcome?" So we kept trying to develop other god-villains like Apollo or Thor, but it never quite worked to everyone's satisfaction. Ares was that perfect mix of character and casting.
Ares worked with any and every character you paired him with. He was Hercules' biggest enemy, Xena's persistent seducer. He shared terrific fun scenes with Iolaus, Gabrielle, Autolycus; I especially loved pairing him with Discord and/or Strife (and later Joel Tobeck's other foil, Deimos.) He was dynamite when thrown together with Callisto -- two world-class villains for the price of one! Then he was the white-suited alternative-universe "Elvis"/Ares from STRANGER IN A STRANGE WORLD and STRANGER AND STRANGER. I was dying to know more of "the two Ares'" together but there wasn't time. Missed opportunities? There weren't many, but had Xena gone another season, I would have loved to have thrown him together in a story with Alti.
When I first went on staff at Hercules, I was sorry the show was shooting in New Zealand because I thought I'd never get to meet anybody. But I got to meet pretty much everybody. Whenever cast members were in L.A. (surprisingly often, what with conventions and all), they'd drop by the Renaissance offices. Kevin Smith came in one day, then later of course he came for Rob and Lucy's [Lawless'] wedding. And I went up to San Francisco one time during a Creation convention to do some quick interviews with him and Danielle Cormack for Cynthia Hsiung's website. Kevin in person was always fun, gracious and down-to-earth, a real "guy's guy".
We've lost a huge talent, and a major member of the Herc/Xena "family". It's sad, but I'll always smile when I think back on Kevin Smith's appearances, and he'll always be there in reruns.
My thoughts go out to his family.
President, Kevin Smith Official Fan Club
My Private Memorial
Wednesday, 2/27/02, 7:00 p.m. – My body may be here, in the middle of this dark room with candles, wine and tears, but my heart is in Auckland. How I wish I could be there at the Memorial tonight.
As I sift through photos, hundreds of memories swirl in my head like a swarm of angry bees. Every one of them stings with bittersweet pain. Kevin! How could this happen? 2002 was supposed to be a better year for us all! Remember how you told me that 2001 was "a b------ of a year"? How I told you things were looking better? This wasn't part of the plan at all!
I'll never forget the first time we met. I had deep reservations about running a fan club, much less running one for a guy who plays the evil God of War. Ironically, I always hated his character Ares. I didn't even know he played Ares until someone pointed out to me that not only did he play Iphicles, he played Ares too. As I sat waiting for him, I silently promised myself that if I picked up on even the most remote resemblance to Ares, I'd slam the door shut to the possibility of my starting this fan club. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. So the fan club, and our friendship, began.
We hit some rough spots, and sometimes I wasn't quite sure what my place was. Through it all, he stayed steady. Always letting me know he cared and considered me to be his "mate". Eventually the fan club collapsed under its own weight, but our friendship survived.
Kevin was like the ocean on a hot summer day. Powerful, yet gentle; beautiful, yet humble; deep in the center, but loads of fun on the shore. Refreshing, soothing, sparkling, vast, full of life and always there. I don't know how he did all that. I'm better for having known him, proud to be able to call him my friend.
Kevin, wherever you are, I hope you know how much your friendship meant to me. I don't remember if I ever told you. Wherever you are, I know you're shining. Whenever I see the ocean, I'll forever think of you.
Miss you mate, more than mere words can ever say.
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