Kevin Smith, a veteran New Zealand actor, best known for his role as Ares in the television series “Xena: Warrior Princess,” has died. He was 38.
Newspapers in New Zealand reported that Smith died on 15 February in Beijing from injuries suffered in a fall. He was in Beijing to shoot the US- Chinese martial arts film Warriors of Virtue II.
On 6 February, Smith completed his work on the set in Shijiazhuang. On the way back to the hotel after celebrating with staff from Beijing Film Studio, he climbed a prop tower on the set of another film, lost his footing and fell three stories, suffering severe head injuries. Smith was rushed by staff to a local hospital and then transferred to Beijing.
He lapsed into a coma and was kept on life support for ten days until life support was discontinued. He died on 15 February without regaining consciousness.
The actor mainly worked in his native country but was preparing for his first Hollywood role in the action film Tears of the Sun, starring Bruce Willis. Filming was to start next month in Hawaii.
Kevin Smith was born in Auckland, New Zealand. His family moved around because of his father’s naval career. Smith attended Timaru Boys High School in Timaru, New Zealand, and Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand.
He played professional rugby before injuries curtailed his career. In the 1980s, he was a New Zealand post-punk band Say Yes to Apes member. Before becoming an actor, he also worked a series of odd jobs, including bank clerk and furniture mover.
Seeing an advertisement for a casting call for the touring Elvis Presley tribute show Are You Lonesome Tonight, Kevin’s wife encouraged him to audition. He got the role of bodyguard JoJoe and was the lead understudy. As a Christchurch’s Court Theatre member, Smith performed for three years in various roles, including Don Pedro in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.
Kevin Smith in the Xenaverse
Smith appeared in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys as Hercules’ half-brother, Iphicles, in 1995. Later, he joined the cast of Xena: Warrior Princess as Ares, a role he would also play on Hercules and Young Hercules. Smith gained legions of fans as the dark and dangerously seductive Greek god of war. Kevin performed as Ares simultaneously on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, and Young Hercules.
Kevin Tod Smith is survived by his wife, Suzanne; and three sons, Oscar, 11; Tyrone, 9; and Willard,