"Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" Kevin Smith 1963-2002 - The Chakram No. 18 - 2002 (May 7)

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This is a scan of the The Official Xena Fan Club Newsletter The Chakram issue no. 18, dated 2002, in memory of Kevin Smith, with a an entry from Michael Hurst.

The high-res scans are from Bryn.

Lucy Lawless

      Thirteen years ago, just after my daughter was born, I was an extra on the TV show Gloss. I played a patron in a nightclub scene. I was amazed when someone said Kevin remembered me from that. A couple years later, we were both on the New Zealand series Marlin Bay.

      We also did Theatre Sports together. It's improv like Who's Line Is It Anyway? Kevin's a master at it. He's the best of the best. And he did celebrity debating. He was pretty hot and in demand because he's such a great brain.

      Everyone on Xena was always inventing all the time. But the kind of improv that I'm talking about is the really scary stuff. You're on stage and you have to be inspired. Which means letting go of all control and just allowing some immense creative force come through your body. And Kevin has the greatest facility for that. He has a direct conduit to the Comedy God.

      Kevin's also a great rider. A natural. Being from Timaru he would ride bareback. None of us knew that about him, but we saw footage at the memorial and the tribute and there he was galloping along.

      I keep saying "is." I think it's because Kevin has never been part of my daily life; he's part of my working life. And since we haven't been working, I haven't truly come to terms with the fact that he's gone. If there was ever a revisiting of Xena, making it without Kevin Smith, without Ares, would be like half the colors are gone from your palette. That's when I know I'll have my final catharsis.

      I'm glad the people got to see Kevin's range on Xena. I think he has a persona in his own country that doesn't do him justice. He has done some spectacular work in movies and on the stage here, and yet the persona of being the sexiest man in the country was so much more broadly known. Kevin was not the sort of person you think was great after he's gone. We who worked with him knew, and I think the Xena fans knew, how great we had it while he was here. There is no one to replace Kevin Smith.

      I've been wanting to thank all those nice people who care about Kevin and gave money at the convention. I wanted to say that I'm sorry that a place for their money to go wasn't arranged sooner. It was simply that the people who were arranging it were so close to Kevin and needed time to support his wife and family. I want the fans to know they weren't being ignored. I don't want them to feel disrespected. Tell them I'm sorry I haven't sent word. Every day I say I've got to write a letter and I'm just out of words. I know that his wife and children will take a great deal of heart of how much Kevin meant to people out there they don't even know. It's going to help them through this tough time. Please thank everyone so much for me.

      You can never envy anyone for what they have, the way they look. You don't know what that person's been through in their past. You don't know what they're going to go through. You don't know what their health is. We've got to be so grateful for our bodies and our talent. Value every day and wish other people well and be happy for their success.

Renee O'Connor

      I think I knew of Kevin before I met him. So it wasn't like meeting a stranger. I was aware of his work on Hercules. I'd seen his movie Desperate Remedies with Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Leland. Such a smoldering presence heating up the screen.

      I saw Tim Omundson, Alex Tydings, Eric Gruendemann and his wife, Patricia Manney, and some others last night. We were having chats about Kevin. My most recent memory was of telling him that Steve and I were pregnant. I told him before I told the crew and even before I told a lot of my friends because he and I had always chatted about his boys. Their soccer games and how he was going to be the dad at home with the boys while Sue, his wife, was playing soccer. That's how we bonded over the last years on Xena.

      Every time I met him, I thought, what a talented, amazing man. And he was such a humble, loving person as well. Someone who didn't know him would think he would have such an ego. But he was the antithesis of that. I keep thinking of his family. Sue and his boys grounded him. They were such an integral part of his life.

      When I saw him during "Soul Possession," I just had to tell him I was pregnant because I knew he was going to be so excited. He'd met Steve a few times being fellow South Island boys. Steve's from Christchurch and Kevin's from a place not far from there called Timaru. It really surprised me, but when I saw him I thought, "I've got to tell Kevin!"

      He's such a family man. He was very private, but you could tell from the way he talked he was a proud dad and thought Sue was the most amazing woman keeping them all in line.

      I was with Michael Hurst when Kevin passed away, rehearsing Love Letters. We were talking about Kevin being injured and what an invincible, strong man he is. We were praying for him. Then later, Michael called me and said we'd lost him. It was odd being here in LA where my friends don't know Kevin and what a great man he is and could appreciate our loss. I wanted to be around the crew who knew him to share memories and celebrate his life.

      Eric Gruendemann told us how moving the memorial was in New Zealand. I think fourteen hundred people turned out. All the productions in Auckland that were ongoing at the time, closed down early so the crew members could go to the memorial. Isn't that amazing? It shows the love that Kevin created in the industry. He was an icon in New Zealand.

      Part of him was the Kiwi bloke who wanted to take you out for a beer and talk about rugby. He was everyone's buddy. So accessible. That's why people loved him so much. Here's this gorgeous man who's so physically formidable and yet there was so much depth to him as well.

      It took me a long time to get to know Kevin since I only had a few scenes with Ares in the first few years. But as we started to work together more, I would see other sides to him. Initially, I would go to certain events in New Zealand because I knew he was working in them. And I was constantly astounded by how talented this man was!

      I saw him in Othello directed by Michael Hurst. And now that I've been attending a Shakespeare seminar, I can really appreciate how difficult that was. He was amazing. Afterwards, I saw him in a musical version of Peter Jackson's Braindead (AKA Dead Alive). Michael Hurst transformed the film into a musical play. It was hilarious seeing Kevin camping it up on stage.

      Steve and I often went to Theatre Sports on weekends. They get up and say they're going to do, say, a Shakespearean poem. Three people in the audience pick topics for each of the three actors on stage. And they make it up right there on the spot. He was amazing every time we saw him. There's no safety net. You don't have a script to rely on. It's all you and your own quick-thinking wit. He's a very clever man.

      I also saw him in The Blue Room with Danielle Cormack. He played this one character who was like a young boy. And I kept imagining Kevin's own son, Oscar. It was astonishing how he could transform himself. So charming.

      I saw him at a wedding where he was performing with his band at the reception. We were talking about the conventions and he said he wanted to get into a different type of music with Joel Tobeck that was more hard rock and roll. As opposed to the retro music he was performing at the reception. After he did the cabaret with Joel, Kevin said it was pretty gritty. I really wanted to see them.

      There are so few actors who can do everything. Except dance! I remember him freaking out, in a joking way, during the first musical, "The Bitter Suite." He said, "I'll sing whatever you want, but, mate, just don't make me dance." He was so worried about them putting tap shoes on him. Then he had that gorgeous tango with Lucy that looked fantastic. He kept making so many hilarious jokes about himself trying to dance.

      I remember during "Ares Farm," Kevin had been working out very hard. The last few years on Xena, he looked especially amazing. Not that he didn't before, but he was just so strong. During "Ares Farm," because he was on the set all day and couldn't go to the gym, he would do pushups or grab sandbags and use them as weights. Lucy and I sat there watching him and asking ourselves, "Okay, how come we're not doing that?" We were just sitting there like slugs. So we both started doing pushups, whenever Kevin wasn't looking, trying to get stronger. It was hilarious. Lucy and I both on our knees trying to get a couple pushups in.

      I miss him.

Rob Tapert

      In the fourth episode of Hercules, called "Ares," the character was a bubbling pool of goo. We had used Kevin Smith in the part of Iphicles, Hercules' brother. He was good in that role, but it didn't allow him to shine. It was a supporting role and Iphicles was a bit of a whiner because he was the brother who didn't understand why he didn't get what Hercules had.

      Then we did "The Reckoning" on Xena. It was among the early episodes that established the bad boys of Xena's past. That was the first time Xena and Ares had actually ever seen one another.

      Diana Rowan, the casting director, was a tremendous fan of Kevin Smith. And I had seen him in Desperate Remedies with Michael Hurst, Jennifer Ward-Leland, Lisa Chappelle. I filed away Kevin's performance in that movie for future reference. Because Ares was a wild, sexy character, Diana recommended him.

      Because we had used him as Iphicles, we decided to give him a beard. We came up with the mustache and goatee. That suited Kevin's face and personality perfectly. Over the course of the years, we had various paste-on sideburns, but Kevin's one of those men who can grow a beard or a mustache overnight.

      When we first started Xena, we didn't know if we would go past one season. But during "The Reckoning," Charlie Siebert, the director, had only the kindest of words about working with Kevin. And Lucy praised him as well. Once we saw that episode, we knew there was a chemistry there worth revisiting. When a character played by Kevin Smith is beckoning Xena, that's a real hard call not to answer.

      I had research done on Kevin's "Q" factor. That charts people's awareness of an actor. He had a very high "Q" rating. At one point, we were working on possibly doing a show starring Kevin. We put together a clip reel of his work for the studio and the distributors and they loved him. Everybody thought that sooner or later the proper part was coming that would establish him as a star.

      Over the numerous hours of television we did, he got stronger and we realized his incredible talent to be a Cary Grant type of leading man. He was sultry and sexy. Yet he could be self-deprecating. In a moment, he could go from threatening to funny and be totally believable. Kevin was like a fine wine that finally found the proper time to open the bottle.

Michael Hurst

      Kevin first came to Auckland about 1989 and that was when I noticed him. We got to know each other through working together at places like the Watershed Theatre. We became close when I cast him as Othello. We did an awful lot of work together because he was really wanting to be taken seriously. It was a big challenge for him to play that role on stage. From that moment we were fast friends.

      He was quite the sports fanatic. We used to go and see the rugby games together. We'd also go to pubs with big screens and watch them on TV and jump around and scream a lot. One night, Anson Williams was in town directing me in a Hercules episode called "King For A Day." Kevin and I took him to a sports bar. It was two-thirty in the morning when the All Blacks rugby team won the game and Kevin took off into the street, in the rain, and started doing the Haka. Anson was next to me just astounded at this sight.

      Kevin and I and a couple of Hercules crew people used to meet regularly every couple months to let off some steam. It was great fun. Kevin would say, "I'm feeling a little saucy today." That meant we're in for the duration. It's going to be a long night.

      I also directed him in Love Mussel, which was a one-hour comedy about a shellfish. Which was a clever pun especially since Kevin was doing it. It was a pseudo-documentary about a little town that had discovered a kind of mussel called a Gooey Duck - which is a real shellfish. It turned out to have the properties of Viagra and was suddenly worth a lot of money. Kevin was playing himself going into this town and seeing how it was being affected by this new lucrative commodity. We made it the beginning of 2001. It was very funny and a great piece of work. If you ever get hold of it, I think people would love seeing it.

      Because it's a very small environment, if you're trying to make a living in the acting community of New Zealand, you can't become too specialized or you're not going to be working all year round. A lot of people are versatile in many areas, but Kevin was great at everything! It was something all of us were amazed at.

      I directed him in a production of Cabaret and he played Cliff. It was then I discovered what an absolutely beautiful voice Kevin had. He was able to do tenor roles with really high singing and gorgeous notes. That was a stunning show.

      During the memorial service I found out he could ride horses. He was in an Australian show called McLeod's Daughters that called for a lot of riding. The horse wranglers told the producers Kevin was so good, he would only need a couple weeks and he could ride in rodeos.

      The only thing he couldn't do was golf. He was hopeless at that. He loved doing it, he just wasn't any good.

      And as a standup comedian, he was so funny!

      He had this reputation for being a big, muscley guy, but he was so bright and witty, it left us all gasping. If you put him in a debate situation, he'd write three sentences on a coaster a couple hours before the show and turn that into the funniest, most erudite, wittiest speech you could ever imagine. He had a real knack for being able to write and formulate ideas. And he was so clever! At University, he did philosophy and religious studies.

      He was in a rock band and learned to play the guitar by copying other people. Then he outclassed all his band members. When he put his mind to something, he could do anything. He was very determined.

      For example, look at his body. He was, in fact, an overweight child. He decided to change himself. He really worked at that. He would train at five in the morning. No matter what happened the night before, he was there working out at five.

      He also did Theatre Sports, which is like Who's Line Is It Anyway? Someone said, if you were onstage with Kevin, you would feel safe. He had the uncanny ability to wrap it up. Give the piece a satisfying conclusion that worked. So people were never worried when they were with him during that.

      He was not afraid to make himself look foolish. You know that from the conventions - dressing up in Hudson's gown. He didn't mind. He had a great humility about him which is what made him so loved. I wrote an obituary for him in a trade magazine here called On Film. The issue included letters from people in the crew expressing how sorry they were that he'd gone. They all said the same thing - this man was one of us. Never any fuss. Known as "our Kev."

      I remember at the memorial we had something Kevin said to a friend in an email. It was the last message she received from him. He was trying to arrange to be at the Christmas In The Park benefit concert here in Auckland. He said, "I can get back in time and I know what the songs are." And the last line read, "Set the controls for the heart of the sun."

      It sums him up. That's what he used to do all the time. I think we all feel we want to live by that because of Kevin. The loss is so profound, we want to keep him alive by doing things in that way in his memory. No one can ever be him, but we can remember he never deviated. He always went for it. "Set the controls for the heart of the sun."

Bruce Campbell

      There's a lot of mourning to do, but I'm mainly concerned about Kevin's family. I'm not concerned about me or the fans. The only thing that means anything is that his family will be able to continue on.

      This guy had a full life and the only shame is that more people didn't get to know who he was. But, artistically, he was able to sing, he had a band, he did TV, theatre, film. He did action and comedy. He could do it all. If you watch the course of Hercules and Xena, you can see that. Every time I directed him as Ares, he was game to do anything.

      When he was in "Stranger In A Strange World," the parallel universe of Hercules, he was in his white Ares outfit and I had him play it as a full-on gay character. That was the opposite of Ares.

      It was nice doing "Full Circle," the very last episode of Hercules, with Kevin. I wanted Ares to be defeated. I said, "He's got to lose and I'm going to give you a big, fat closeup and I want you to show me you've finally, finally lost." And he milked it so perfectly. He had no problem with that. He didn't say, "Oh, you can't defeat Ares." He was all for doing it. So I miss him not only as a person, but as a talent. As a director I could say, "Hey, Kevin, try this," and he would just do it. He made my job easy.

      Kevin's been a part of some interesting things in my life. His band played at the best cast party I ever went to. I'm not a dancer, but every single person was out on that dance floor when his band played. He just kicked ass! I have some private performances of his like that that I'll always cherish. Live stuff.

      In one of the last Hercules episodes, he had to pretend to be a god of light, I think. It all worked out serendipitously. By the time it came to shoot him up on this wall, the sun was directly behind him. In New Zealand, the weather is so tentative. There are always clouds coming in. But at this moment, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We were able to get a scene that we couldn't have planned any better. There's a tragedy to what happened to him, but I think Kevin has had his angels, too.

      Here's my wife's favorite image of Kevin. I was in New Zealand by myself directing. Kevin Sorbo came and asked Kevin Smith and I, "Hey, what are we going to do Saturday night?" None of us had anything to do. So the three of us sat around playing poker and smoking cigars at Sorbo's house. My wife just cracked up saying, "If women only knew that Kevin Sorbo and Kevin Smith have nothing to do on a Saturday night except play poker." But that was the reality of it. And at the end of the night, Kevin hopped in his car and went home to his family. He was a very regular guy.

      In one way, his family is fortunate. His kids will be able to watch their father doing what he loved. There's a lot of his work on film. Many kids have photographs or videos, but they can see their father at work. They can watch and enjoy what he did. I hope that's of some consolation to them.

Ted Raimi

      The first thing I remember about meeting Kevin Smith is thinking he might be full of himself like so many good-looking actors in LA. I was bracing myself for that hunky attitude of guys who think they can act. But he knew his lines cold and the quality of his acting told me this was someone I would never have a problem working with. He also came right over and introduced himself to me, "Hey, how are you doing? My name's Kevin Smith."

      We used to talk about the fact that, compared to Lucy and Renee, we were the old men of the show. I'd just come from Seaquest where I was the kid. We used to joke that we should be using walkers.

      What struck me most about Kevin was his persistence and his aptitude for work. I remember one morning, about three years ago, he was here in LA and we met for breakfast in my neighborhood. He told me, "It's tough to be a Kiwi in LA. It's the accent. Everyone thinks of the Crocodile Hunter and Paul Hogan. It's difficult to bust out of that image." Kevin wasn't a one-trick pony as so many actors are. But he had a great attitude about that. He was indefatigable. If something didn't work out, he'd just try again. A lot of actors don't roll with the punches. But he was persistent.

      I think Kevin loved the idea of movies and loved to be in them and make them. He was always very bouyant on set. He and I used to quote lines from old movies all the time. We'd replay those great moments. It showed me how much he loved movies. I love working with actors who feel that way because they want to create more good moments. When you're with someone like that, it makes everything so much easier. And he had a rather devilish grin, that boy did.

Alexandra Tydings

      The first thing I remember noticing about Kevin was how beautiful he was and how funny. How easy he was to get along with. He just slid right in with the cast and crew on set. I'm seeing his crinkly eyes right now as we talk.

      In "The Quill Is Mightier," everything Gabrielle writes on a magic scroll comes true. So she's trying to put things back the way they were. She writes something like, "The power that enchanted the scroll is no more," and Aphrodite falls out of the sky and lands on top of Ares. That was my first episode with Ares and there I was sitting right on top of Kevin! "Hello, nice to meet you." There was a difficult bit of maneuvering during a tight closeup where first his head was supposed to lean forward and then mine. I wound up sitting on him for quite some time trying to get this right.

      I remember him coming to work into the makeup trailer at six o'clock in the morning. We're all complaining about how tired we were. He says, "That's nothing. I was up at four changing diapers." And his band had played a gig the night before. So he was up all night being a rock star, awake at four changing diapers and then on set at six. Yet he was so cheerful, funny and just lovely.

      My last episode down there I went pub crawling with Kevin and Michael Hurst and a couple other guys from the show. About two-thirty in the morning, I'm exhausted and Kevin says, "We should probably call it a night." He made sure I got into my taxi and safely on my way home. The next day, I found out he'd continued the partying and didn't quit until about four-thirty. He was just being a gentleman saying, "let's call it a night," so I didn't feel like a loser going home so early.

      I was always fascinated by Kiwi slang. I started a list of words and phrases and he came up with some of the most colorful. A million terms for drinking! For example, a "a roader, mate" which is "one for the road." A "oner" is one drink. A "belter" is to toss back a few. A "nosey" - to poke your nose into a couple of bars, say hello, see what's going on. "A couple of quiet ones" is one of my favorites. Someone falls off a barstool or ends up with a lampshade on his head. Everyone in New Zealand knows if you're going out for a "couple of quiet ones," it's definitely not going to be quiet!

      My favorite one is, "A joke is a joke, but to stick a straight stick up a crooked man's ass, now that's quite another thing." I don't know what that means, but it was Kevin's favorite expression. You have to imagine him reciting that to me with his Kiwi accent.

      I remember being in the makeup trailer when a new makeup artist would come in and see Kevin and moan, "Why don't they make more men like this." So chivalrous and kind, humble, funny and entertaining. He was just so easy to be around - made everyone comfortable.

Claire Stansfield

      I never did a Xena episode with Kevin. We met at my first convention in Florida. I didn't know anyone. I was thinking that here I was in the land of theme parks, I should call someone and go see one. Kevin Smith and Danielle Cormack were the two other actors appearing that weekend. I called Kevin's room first. I asked what he was doing and he invited me down for a drink. I had no idea what character he played or what he looked like. I knew absolutely nothing about him.

      I knocked on the door. It swung open. And there stood the most beautiful man I'd ever seen in my life! I was about to run away thinking I'd knocked on the wrong door. Danielle was sitting behind him, smiling. I didn't know her either, but she's since become one of my best girlfriends. I still have a crush on Kevin and I think I always will.

      We went off to visit two or three of the theme parks and wiled away the time drinking margaritas. Kevin and I were on the body-conscious health kick, so we only ate chicken breasts with the margaritas and no potatoes. A very logical diet. I loved him right away because of that. God forbid you eat a French fry, but let's have another round of margaritas!

      People took photos of the two of us together at the convention. They'd send them to me and I'd put them up on my bulletin board. He had such a great smile.

      I also hosted one of the convention cabarets Kevin performed at. I had these two big symbols and the running joke was that Kevin kept stopping me from playing them. That was really fun.

      Whenever I was in New Zealand or Kevin and Danielle were in the U.S., we'd always have lunch together. The three of us had some of the craziest times together. I felt as if we spent more time together than we actually did because Kevin was so warm and welcoming. "Hey mate, how're you doing?" He remembered everything I was up to and my boyfriend's name. He was that way with everyone. I remember after my last episode of Xena, the crew was all excited because Kevin was returning to do "Ares Farm." They were so happy because he had such amazing energy. In fact, a bunch of us are meeting next Sunday in a restaurant he loved to have a memorial for him.

      I go to the gym every day and men like Kevin just don't exist. He was so good looking, yet self-deprecating and selfless. I think he thought of his looks as a means to an end. It was work. It wasn't vanity. He will always be the ultimate guy for me. The perfect man.

      I called Kevin and Danielle when they opened in The Blue Room in New Zealand and they left messages for me when I was at last year's Pasadena convention which I still have on my answering machine.

Adrienne Wilkinson

      The first scene I ever shot on Xena was a kissing scene with Kevin Smith in the episode "Livia." It was the opening of the episode where I'm fighting with my soldiers against the followers of Eli and after the battle, Ares informs Livia she's been named the emperor's successor. I turn around and there's Ares and we start making out.

      I had never done any kissing on TV. It was my first day of work. I had to do fighting which I'd never done before. And I had to do this makeout scene with this guy I was convinced was scary. To say I was nervous would be a complete understatement.

      Kevin was extraordinary. I worked almost exclusively with him on that episode and he was fabulous. He was so professional and he made me feel so comfortable. He constantly talked about his kids. Lots of stories about playing rugby, what the kids were into and about his wife Sue, being pregnant. He had just had a child and my stunt double, Alex, had also had a baby. We were all full of baby talk.

      He was also the funniest person I've ever worked with. Always joking and so self-deprecating. He's got this great manly image, but he was excruciatingly funny.

      The last time I was there - in the episode "Path Of Vengeance" - Tsianina Joelson was going to work with him for the first time. I told her he was great and she was going to love it. After they'd worked together in the morning, she came to me and said, "My God, he rocks! He's incredible!"

      That day at lunch, I was sitting with Kevin. He said to me he'd gotten himself into a bit of a bind. I asked why. He said, "Last week this woman came up to me and asked me to run a marathon for charity. I jumped at the idea. I thought it would be great. Then I realized I haven't run in twenty years! Yesterday I went out running. After two miles, I was puking on the side of the road. A marathon is 26 miles! I'm not sure what to do. I don't think that's the image they're looking for." It was so funny. I found out the next day he called the charity and asked if there was anything else he could do for them. I think he ended up doing rock climbing. It was so cute. He never took himself seriously. Wasn't even remotely embarrassed telling this story.

      The first time I actually met Kevin was during the read-through for "Livia." He was late because he'd been shooting another episode. Having read the script, I knew who was missing and who he was when he walked into the room. I knew we had a fight scene together and all I remember thinking was, "Oh my God, he's going to kill me! He's huge!" I thought, "This is absurd. I can't kick this guy's butt!" He said, "Hi, I'm Kevin." And I said, "Hi, I'm really scared of you." He started laughing and said, "Don't worry. Every girl on this show kicks my ass routinely."

      I had to do so much stuff in that first episode that was completely unfamiliar to me and also physically challenging. But Kevin was such a gentleman and made it so comfortable with his humor.

      We also did "Coming Home" together and I think that was my favorite episode of his. I thought he was brilliant in it. Insane, funny - and it never felt like he was faking it. You could believe he was surrounded by those Furies. It goes back to his great sense of humor. He was flashing back and forth between thinking he was a god and then remembering he'd lost his powers. Unexpectedly, it was decided that Ares would ride a horse and Kevin went right with it. The first time he went up to the horse, the horse wanted no part of him. It was hilarious. But Kevin was an experienced rider and took control.

      The last time I saw Kevin was at a convention in October in Phoenix. In the cabaret we did a duet of "I've Got You, Babe." It's my favorite thing I've ever done at a convention. We never got to rehearse. We did the convention and signed autographs. They ran really late and it was almost time for the cabaret to start. We each ran through our solo songs and then I asked him if we should try doing "I've Got You, Babe." Kevin said, "Sure!" We had to read the lyrics because there was no time to memorize them, but it was great. So much fun. No pressure. Just go out and have a good time. It was truly my favorite moment.

Tim Omundson

      "Chakram" was the first episode I worked on with Kevin. And the other was "Seeds Of Faith." Only two, but it seems like we did so many more together. We met at a party at Lucy's house. It was Rob's anniversary of quitting smoking. That's where I first met Kevin and I remember being shocked that he was a Kiwi because his American accent was so good. He was in the pool and I thought to myself, "That's why I don't swim at parties because you're going to run into guys like that!" And then he and Lucy sang at the piano.

      Later on, I was invited to the birthday party of Robert Bruce, Kevin's agent, at the Red Dog bar. I started talking with Kevin and I instantly fell in love with him. I don't remember the work as much as sitting around telling stories waiting for the crew to set up the next shot.

      I've always said that the best thing to come out of Xena was the friends I made down there and Kevin was in the forefront of that group. He would stay with my wife and I when he was in Los Angeles. It seems like whenever he was in town, we'd put our life on hold so we could spend time with him.

      We had some memorable times at conventions. I have a physical scar from the time we were in San Francisco - which I won't get into - and that was the first time we did the band at the cabaret together. I had friends come down from Seattle and they still talk about our evening afterwards with Kevin, Danielle and Joel. It was an amazing weekend. It was my first convention and that set the bar.

      It's an instantaneous family when you're working on a set. Totally dysfunctional, but a family. Then you go your separate ways. I've been really fortunate I've been able to carry on friendships formed this way. I'm still close to some of the people I worked with on Seaquest and many of the cast and crew from Xena. To maintain a friendship from the other side of the world is pretty special. You don't see each other for a year and when you get together, you pick up exactly where you left off. And that's the way it was with Kevin.

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Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.
Click image for high-res version.