1 - The wonderful thing about a career in film and television is the vibrant legacy of memories that allow a performer to reach out to all of us, even after they've gone.
That's the way it is for late New Zealand actor Kevin Smith.
2 - To the shock and distress of the film and TV industry, and his legion of hot-and-bothered fans, Kevin passed away after an accidental six-story fall from a prop tower on a film set in 2002.
While he was with us...
Eyes - Brown
Hair - Dark brown
Type - Athletic / Mid-30's
He worked as an actor / Co-founder of a theatresports troupe, Scared Scriptless
Worked in television / Film / Stage
3 - Kevin grew up in Auckland and later Timaru, New Zealand. He played rugby and sang in rock bands in school, continuing with his musical interests all through his acting career.
Appeared as the same character on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules for seven seasons (1995-2001)
Unlike the three previous hotties showcased so far in my Thursday Thirteen Eye Candy series, Kevin's only other genre work was his final project, Riverworld (2003). Because of his death, his voice had to be looped by another actor in post production.
Kevin did a wide variety of roles, including:
Lawless, a three-film crime series for television following a Kiwi private investigator (1999-2000)
Jubilee, a comedy featuring Kevin as an All-Blacks Kiwi rugby player (2000)
Desperate Remedies, an art house film featuring Kevin as a settler in colonial Down Under (1993)
He also participated in an improv comedy theatresports troupe, and had considerable stage credits, including:
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Blue Room
Next photo is straying into Not Safe For Work territory...
4 - Kevin kept in tiptop shape for the grueling stunt schedule required of his role on Herc and Xena. His role as the god of war meant his call sheet contained a steady stream of fight sequences. He excelled at these, and in fact took his final role in a film shot in Beijing in order to work with a stuntman from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
This saucy fanvid clip contains a tongue-in-cheek homage to the side of Ares we didn't see very often. There were a few episodes in a story arc where Ares had lost his god-powers, which is where all the footage for this video came from.
5 - No matter how delicious Mr. Smith might have been, he was strictly eye candy, ladies - he belonged to Mrs. Smith. Suzanne was his childhood sweetheart and the mother of his three boys.
We all have her to thank for our introduction to Kevin, as it was her suggestion that he go to a casting call after a sports injury which led to his career before the cameras.
6 - Kevin played himself in a mockumentary directed by Hercules co-star Michael Hurst, which follows the fictitious development of a unique shellfish industry in a small New Zealand town.
CLICK HERE to watch clip of Love Mussel
The scene where Kevin discovers the aphrodisiac qualities of the local seafood begins at the 9:32 mark.
7 - Kevin appeared for seven seasons as Ares, God of War on three connected series - Hercules, Xena and Young Hercules.
He ranks up there with Keith Allen's Sheriff of Nottingham as one of my favorite TV villains. Ares relished his every rotten impulse and apologized for none of his self-interested mayhem.
I suspect Kevin imbued this character with an aspect of himself, as his co-star and director Michael Hurst said of him:
"It was always a riot when Kevin was around because (and I think I can speak for many people here) he made you want to be naughty. He had a streak of madness that seemed to call to everyone's inner lunatic, and my memories of working with him throughout this time are of both laughter and insanely hard work."
Here's a scene featuring Bad to the Bone Ares from Hercules the Legendary Journeys.
8 - Remember my soft spot for a man in chains?
Herc and Xena only gave us a few tied-up Ares moments. The nature of the god of war made this moment pictured above a rarity.
In the less-is-more category, the sight of Ares in this predicament had a far more powerful effect because of its singularity.
It led to big character growth for him, as well. Awesome stuff.
9 - Although Xena's character developed a longterm romantic relationship with her sidekick Gabrielle during the series, she also had several male romantic relationships, which included an ongoing love-hate thing with Ares.
Contrasting his uber villain persona with his lovestruck side, Ares' black shades lightened to much more fascinating grays in his pursuit of his warrior princess.
10 - And Kevin was an awesome crier.
CLICK HERE to watch clip
11 - Have I ever been able to resist a sword-wielding warrior?
12 - But what can send me into more paroxysms of joy than a hunky man who can act, sing, dance AND swing a sword?
13 - When the Xena producers decided to do a musical episode in season 3, they hit the jackpot with triple threat Kevin as their war god.
CLICK HERE to listen to Melt Into Me, sung by Kevin and by Hudson Leick, who played Xena's nemesis Callisto.