Whoosh! Issue 67 - April 2002


Page 2

Alexandra Tydings
Actor, "Aphrodite", Xena: Warrior Princess


Some things I've been thinking about Kevin...

Kevin Smith will always be a god.

As a man, he was a poster child for masculinity: staggeringly handsome, chivalrous, and funny as hell. Whenever a new girl showed up on set with the inevitable Kevin Smith crush, he was so gracious, so real and had such a warm sense of humor that she'd happily settle for being one of the boys.

...And yet, the single girls occasionally had to wonder why the mold was broken after Kevin was made.

One morning we all stumbled into the make-up trailer. 6:00 am. Bleary eyed. Quickly administering caffeine. Kevin seemed surprisingly awake, which was especially remarkable given that his band had played a late gig the night before. "Oh, this is nothing, mate. I was up at 4 changing diapers." So much for being a rock star.

Besides being a devoted father and a consummately professional actor, it must be said that Kevin was a tremendously talented drinker. He taught me so many kiwi slang terms for a drink - "a belter," "a roader," "a few quiet ones" (which are never quiet) - I had to start a notebook to keep track of them all. And after a post-wrap couple of quiet ones (at which point I had to bow out despite my Irish heritage) he made sure that all the ladies were safely tucked into taxis before continuing down Ponsonby Road for a nosey into a few other places. To borrow a phrase from Chaucer, he was "a very perfect gentle knight."

That's the image I chose to remember Kevin by - the kind soul who makes sure everyone is not just ok, but laughing... and the spirit who then continues on down the road to greet a few new friends.

His beauty, his humor, and his twinkling smile will live on for all of us. And heaven just got a new angel.

With much love, especially to Kevin's family,

Ryan Gosling and Dean O'Gorman
Actors, "Young Hercules"/"Young Iolaus", Young Hercules

[07] & [08]

It feels strange to be writing to the fans of Kevin Smith, when we're fans ourselves. Not only of his work, but of his life. We consider it an honour to even be able to call him a friend. At times like these what can we do? We can only take it day by day, and when we miss him, we can think about him and when we think about him we can hear him telling us to get back to work.

We met Kevin as Ares as the immortal god,and even though his passing would seem to contradict that idea, it has in fact managed to confirm his immortal status for us. Even though he is no longer with us physically, we can no longer write to him, talk to him, or share an afternoon beer with him, he's still around. He's still making us laugh, he's still entertaining us.

Ryan and I are trying desperately to mourn, but he won't let us. Every time we think of him we laugh, are reminded of the fits of giggles we would find ourselves in, on the set. While Ryan and I would be bright red, cheeks streaked with tears unable to say a single word, Kev, would somehow manage to pull it together to deliver a great performance, and then amazingly would continue to laugh where he left off when they called "cut".

It was inspiring to be around Kev. Whether you were a hardcore fan of the show or someone just flipping through the channels, Kev had the ability to make you feel as though you were in on the joke -- that only the two of you understood. And the incredible thing was he could do all this while making the set feel like a party with cameras.

The point is, that we could keep writing for years, but it's still only a single hair on the manly chest that was Kevin Smith. Words will never do him justice. He is gone, and yet his passing doesn't feel final. The fact that we can still laugh at his jokes, talk of all the times we shared, toast to every time we have a beer, will keep him with us daily.

He was a true friend,and we will miss him. We will miss him dearly.

To you kev,cheers.
Dean and Ryan

Adrienne Wilkinson
Actor, "Eve/Livia", Xena: Warrior Princess


Kevin was amazing. So much fun. The last time I saw him was in October, in Phoenix where we sang together in a cabaret. It was too much fun, and hilarious. We did an impromptu version of "I Got You Babe" and it was my favorite moment of the appearance.

Kevin was the first person I worked with on the set of Xena and I worked almost exclusively with him for the first few weeks. I was nervous, and overwhelmed and he was wonderful, keeping me calm by telling me endless stories of his children and his wife and giving me tips and pointers on how to make some of our dialogue work and how to pull off being the 'evil villain' that I was hired to portray.

Kevin was also one of the funniest people I've ever worked with. So kind and jovial. He had that beautifully sarcastic, and self deprecating Kiwi humor. He played such an intense character, and fulfilled such an image, but Kevin was a stronger, more interesting, influential, and multi-faceted than Ares could have ever dreamed of being. Kevin never took things to seriously, and always remembered what was truly important in life. He was adored on set - not because of who he played, but because of who he was. He was extraordinary and we are all better for having the chance to know him.

Adrienne Wilkinson

Ted Raimi
Actor, "Joxer", Xena: Warrior Princess


Kevin Smith was funny. No doubt about it. Stand next to that guy for five minutes and he'd probably have you laughing inside of three. Every time I'd hang around him I'd crack up.

I'd also think the same thing every time: "D*mn! He could play any funny part he wants. He could be playing Joxer!" And then I'd think, "It's a good thing he so good looking. Otherwise I'd be eating baked potatoes and stale Cheerios again in my crappy little apartment in Echo Park."

As it was, I was eating baked potatoes and stale cheerios in a really swank hotel in Auckland, New Zealand.

Back when I did SeaQuest for NBC in the early nineties, I was the fresh-faced kid of the cast. It was old Roy Schieder who we all affectionately called "the old man". But when I landed Joxer I was the old man of the cast. Kevin, who was almost exactly my age, was, I suspect going through the same thing as me. He had been on New Zealand soaps as the handsome young buck and now was playing the wizened God of War. "Holy Crap", we thought to ourselves but never spoke it. "Are we getting...um... Old?" We were both early Gen Xers working with a bunch of Gen Yers. In the first three years of the show, Lucy [Lawless] and Renee [O'Connor] looked like underage kids to us whose parents let them out after school to become big TV stars.

That was probably why we always chatted about our time growing up in the early eighties. Kevin liked hard rock of the time, too. The Romantics and the Smiths. I liked the new wave stuff. We'd argue sometimes who was better. Flock of Seagulls, the English Beat or Hall and Oates? But, you know, without "Oates". We loved those conversations. They seemed really important at the time. As far the girls were concerned, we might as well have been talking about highway construction in Montana.

Who gives a crap?

We did.

I especially liked Kevin's Ronald Reagan imitation. It was ALMOST as good as mine. Well maybe it was a little better. In the make up trailer we'd have dueling Ronnie days.

KEVIN: As Reagan: "Well, I uh.... Nancy was joining but...."
TED: As Reagan: "...But uh... she couldn't make it... I think... I don't remember... who are you?"
KEVIN: As Reagan: "I'm Ronald Reagan you nitwit. ... Um aren't I?...."
TED: As Reagan: "Listen you, I'm the only Ron! Old Ronny! That's me! And the day I start.... eh.... now what was I saying?"
And it went on like that. Usually at that point we'd have cracked each other up so hard we couldn't breath. Most the make up ladies just sort of stared blankly. I guess I don't blame them.

It was funny too, that those crazy voices came out of someone so handsome. He was the only one of us who actually looked like his action figure. It was a d*mn fine action figure, too. The kind of action figure little kids would battle with all day, yelling things like, "Now Xena, prepare to meet your doom!" or, "Who am I, Xena? The God of War of course! Kiss me!" I'm afraid the only response I might get from my past figures would be "now, how many M-80's would it take to blow the crap out of this thing?" And the only "action" I'd receive, as the figure would be to lie on top of a half dressed Malibu Barbie.

If only life would imitate toys.

I miss those laughs with him. I think I always will. I'm grateful I had them. I'm also grateful he was such a bo-hunk. 'Cause that swanky hotel back in Auckland was pretty nice....

Ted Raimi
Los Angeles, California
March 2002

Mike Levine
Director, Xena: Warrior Princess


I didn't work with Kevin on but one episode. But I think it was one of his favorites. Not only was he playing Ares, but he was also playing a second character in a parallel world. It was the antithesis of his regular role and he had a blast, playing it like a hippie Elvis Presley.

Robert Trebor
Actor, "Salmoneus", Xena: Warrior Princess


I first saw Kevin's work at the old Watershed Theatre in Auckland. He was playing Othello directed by Michael Hurst, and he was truly outstanding.

I was amazed that this was the first Shakespeare he had ever performed; Othello is quite a chunk of work for a seasoned Shakespearean actor let alone a first timer. In fact, I had seen James Earl Jones do the part on Broadway several years earlier, and I thought Kevin's work was superior. He was more grounded in human reality rather than orotund speechmaking, a fault of Jones in the performance I saw. When I told Kevin of this, he just laughed and shrugged it off, genuinely modest about his accomplishment.

I later appeared with him at his first American convention--Warriorcon in Washington DC in 1997. He was a just a jovial goodhearted bloke about the whole affair. He took the fans' affection in stride and declared the Sam Adams beer was America's finest, and almost the equal of a good Kiwi beer! I regret that I never had the chance to act opposite him though we were in three episodes together. In fact I "morphed" into him in the Xena episode DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN but we never actually had any scenes opposite each other. He was a terrific actor, a gentle soul, and a really good guy. I will miss him.

Robert Trebor,
Los Angeles,
March 2002

Chloe Smith
Producer, Xena: Warrior Princess


The last time I saw Kevin was before he flew off to Beijing. He came to my house to talk about an idea that he had, settled himself into the capacious brown leather armchair, stretched his legs out and agreed that the cup of herbal tea that I made him "wasn't half bad mate". As usual, the hour was spent talking about anything except his idea which showed not that Kevin lacked focus but that Kevin found anything interesting and worth a chat and all the better if you could get a laugh out of it. That's how I see Kevin now in my mind. Relaxed, happy, smart, funny, interesting and interested, self-deprecating and utterly proud of and defined by his family of Sue, Tyrone, Oscar and Willard. That brown leather chair will never quite fit anyone again in the way that it holds Kevin in my heart. A friend and a colleague that I'm happy to know and always think of with a smile a mile wide and on the point of laughter.

I'm a cancer survivor and Kevin once asked me whether I'd taken anything from that experience. I replied that "when I die, I don't want someone standing at my funeral to read out my CV [curriculum vitae]. I hope to be thought of for who I really am". I think of that now and of how much, since his incomprehensible and sudden absence, we all speak about Kevin as he really is. Leaving his CV to the media, our stories and emotions and loss are all about someone who brought so much into all our lives and who we miss more than we can say.

I'm having trouble with the past tense as I think of Kevin. There is much to hold dear and take forward into our lives. Let's treat every person with kindness, let's end every day with a smile a mile wide and let's always hold Kevin in our hearts.


Chloe Smith
Former NZ Producer at Pacific Renaissance Pictures but more importantly Kevin's friend.

Josh Becker
Director, Xena: Warrior Princess


I found Kevin Smith to be a complete and utter joy to work with, and I'm not just saying it, he really was. For a guy as handsome and ripped as he was, it was surprising to find that he was so sweet, humble, and kind, which one doesn't necessarily associate with incredibly attractive people. He was also very funny and came up with terrific ad lib lines--at one point Xena kicks him in the head and Kevin touched the spot, checked for blood, and said, "That's going to leave a mark." In fact, Kevin was so good and fun to work with that for the one and only time in my career, I called him after the shoot to tell him so. Other than making all of the other men, including me, on the set feel dumpy and out of shape (at one point Ted Raimi glanced over at Kevin without his shirt on, and mumbled to himself, "I'm horrible"), he couldn't have been better to work with. Working with Kevin Smith was a wonderful experience.

Josh Becker

R.J. Stewart
Executive producer and writer, Xena: Warrior Princess


The first time I saw Kevin Smith was while watching the dailies of THE RECKONING back in '95, early in the first year of Xena. I almost broke my back jumping up from my desk and moving to a chair closer to the TV to make sure I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. To my breathless satisfaction, it was all delightfully true. We had playing Ares a bonafide hunk who had that earthy "blood on his hands" sensuality that you could believe turned Xena on. But the best part was, this hunk could act!!! His timing was brilliant, his delivery simultaneously intelligent and primitive and he clearly got the humor in the show. And more than anything, he was just sooooo cool. For the next six years I joyfully wrote all I could for this special actor, knowing always I'd look at the dailies and see what was on the page come vibrantly to life.

Early in the filming of the second season I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin. What a great guy! Relaxed, witty, modest, oozing charisma while always behaving with class and warmth. I spent several hours with him over the six years of the show and he always impressed me with his sincerity, humor and decency. His death stuns us all. We in the Xenaverse will go on, but with diminished joy. One of ours has passed to the other side and we can only hope that he hears our thoughts. I think he'll be pleased with how he touched us and how we remember him - with great love and respect.

Michael Hurst
Actor and director, "Iolaus", Hercules: The Legendary Journeys


Time and a little distance has not made it any easier to accept that Kev has passed away. When I think about it, the tears well and I have to repeat to myself that somewhere in it all there is reason and purpose, though why he should have been taken at this time is beyond me.

The world needs more men like him, not less. He was generous to a fault, talented and beautiful - one of the funniest and wittiest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He was the only one of the actors in Hercules and Xena that actually resembled his action figure. He was fiercely intelligent, with a vocabulary belonging more to a Renaissance man than to a boy from Timaru.

His was a "larger than life" kind of life. He was hungry for it - he ate it and he loved the taste of it. Yet in all this, he took great joy in the fact that he was still just a family man from the suburbs of Auckland.

I miss him. I miss his strength and his humour. I miss his vast hugs and his daylight breaking through the clouds smile.

Kev touched everyone he met. People would spend only minutes with him yet feel they were a friend. He took me on many a journey, at full throttle and with no judgement. One of the last things he said was "set the controls for the heart of the sun", and by God that's what we would do.

We always wanted to go with him. It hurts that he has gone on this last journey without us. It hurts that we won't hear his "Gidday Mate" across a crowded pub any more. It just bloody hurts. We have lost one of our favourite sons.

But through the sadness of these past weeks I have been thinking of the words of the great American poet e.e.cummings who said:

"laugh, leaning back in my arms,
for life's not a paragraph;
and death I think is no parenthesis."
Haere ra Kevin. Safe journey. We love you.

Michael Hurst

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