It is with Deepest Regrets we have to inform you

stripe

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Kevin Smith of Ares fame has passed away




16.02.2002


Leading New Zealand actor Kevin Smith has died in a Beijing hospital after he was critically injured in a fall.

His agent, Robert Bruce, confirmed that the 38-year-old actor had died.

"I received a call from Kevin's family to say that he passed away in his sleep.

"It's a shock to us all, and a major shock to the family. They're just trying to come to terms with it all."

Mr Bruce could provide no further details.

Auckland-based Smith was injured in the Chinese capital 10 days ago and doctors treating him were concerned that he would not recover from serious injuries.

The accident occurred on February 6, the day after the actor finished work on a joint US-Chinese production, and as he was preparing to return to NZ.

The hunky local star was then to have headed to movie "boot camp" to prepare for what many believed would be his big break, a role in a Hollywood blockbuster starring Bruce Willis.

The doctor treating Smith told the Herald last night that staff from China's top movie production house, Beijing Film Studio, rushed him to the Beijing Union Hospital after the fall. Smith was believed to have been on a life-support machine before his death.

The doctor, who did not wish to be named, said Smith had suffered a severe injury to his skull and had been in a critical condition.

Acting sources have said he was injured when he fell from a great height, possibly six storeys.

Li Hao, a spokeswoman for one of the companies involved in Warriors of Virtue II, said Smith, who had completed his film contract the day before the fall, had made a big impression.

Smith's wife, Suzanne, and his parents, Geoff and Yvonne, are understood to have been with him.

In addition to his wife, Mr Smith leaves his three children, Oscar, 11, Tyrone, 9, and Willard, 3.

Mr Bruce said last night that the actor's family wanted to thank everyone who had sent messages of love and support.

Smith starred in many New Zealand stage, television and feature films and is perhaps best known for his role as Ares in Xena: Warrior Princess.

His ambitions to break into the American movie market were realised when he scored a role in the $US70 million ($166 million) Bruce Willis action film Man of War, due to start filming in Hawaii next month.

He had leaped at the chance to go to China because the role allowed him to learn from the stuntman who worked on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Smith, Auckland-born but Timaru-raised, got into acting when his wife and childhood sweetheart saw a casting call while he was sidelined by concussion during the rugby season.

He was soon a leading man, happy to laugh at his beefcake image.

"A nicer guy you wouldn't find anywhere," said friend and Comedian Mike King.

- STAFF REPORTERS
 

bummer

Bruce Campbell love slave
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I was just reading about that...it's so sad. He was one of my favorites on Xena and Herc; and neither show would have been the same without him.
 

Kephallinian

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May 6, 2001
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um...I don't know what to say really...it's a big shock, I couldn't believe it!....told my mom who watches Xena with me sometimes...she couldn't believe this either.

sure gonna miss him and....wathcing Xena reruns' gonna be a whole lot different
:(
 

Prophet4Profit

Cluster Admiral, SQUAD!
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I always thought he was cool...:(

Its sad to see a familier face meet the fate of all flesh...

He was in his prime too... and on the verge of a potential professional breakthrough...
 

august

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This is just so sad. :(

Someone - I believe Fredric March once said of Basil Rathbone (known as the dashing Romeo and Robert Browning in his youth, and later the cerebral Sherlock Holmes, the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham , and the titular "Son of Frankenstein") - "He was a good actor and a nice guy."

That pretty much sums it up. :(

I never had the pleasure of meeting him at a convention or anything, but I had two tiny interactions with him. In December of 2000, some months after "Jack of All Trades" had been cancelled, Stuart Devenie, the actor who had played the Governor, expressed interest in doing a celebrity chat with the show's fans, as a sort of farewell/thank you/closure kind of thing. He knew fellow "Jack" co-star Stephen Papps would be willing to participate via telephone, and he was staying at the home of his friend actress Darien Takle, so he developed the notion of various mystery guests showing up, and he plugged the idea at the Auckland Theatre Co. Christmas party the night before.

Sure enough, his old buddy from Christchurch theatre days, Kevin Smith, called up on what would have been for them Sunday afternoon. Smithy was getting ready to take his kids to see "the Grinch," and asked the chatters if they thought he needed another drink before he went! He answered tons of questions about Herc + Xena, and was generally witty and irreverent. He seemed especially interested in the weirdness of the Bush-Gore election, and had watched Gores's recent concession speech, observing that it was as if the losers of the Oscars had to make speeches too. (A partial transcript transcript is at http://www.angelfire.com/sc/joxerfan/devenie.chat7.html ) Stuart had the idea that if he held two phones receivers together, Smithy and I could talk, but the reception was terrible, so I only spoke to him briefly, but I'll never forget his cheery "Hallo, Mate!"

Two months later, Cam Cooley, an American actor living in NZ was cast in a small part in "Soul Possession," and I asked him to sneak a picture of himself on the Xena set with a sign or something saying "Hello, August." Cam did one better, and got Kevin Smith to pose with him, and the picture remains one of my prized possessions.

There's no reason why Smithy could not have been the next big breakout star from NZ, given the "hunk" factor combined with his extraordinary, stage-trained talent and his excellent singing voice.

And from what I understand, he was the most settled, down-to-earth family man there ever was.

He will be greatly missed.

 

kelsi

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Wow, that is terrible, I can hardly believe it! Such bad timing, too, his career might have really taken off. Am I the only one who wishes he'd got a stunt man?! (Not to the stunt man could've died, they could've both probably survived!)

The only reason I used to watch Xena or Hercules was if I knew he was going to be in it. It truly is a shame, I'm close to crying, which is strange, I didn't even watch Xena that often. I'll miss him, and never watch Xena TWP in the same way.

Does anyone know, was he filming a movie when he fell, or had he finished, or not yet started or training, or what?

This is such a shock, so unexpected.
 

BONNIESTACKPOLE

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I'm so shocked. I just read the news about Kevin's death today. He was my favorite charactor from Xena and Hercules. I find it so hard to believe. What a terrible loss and a waste of a wonderful talent and genuinely nice person. My heart goes out to his wife and children. If only Xena hadn't have ended, he would have been home in New Zealand. :crying: :crying:
 

stripe

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Update

From the New Zealand Herald

Kevin Smith fell from film set tower, agent reveals

19.02.2002
By LOUISA CLEAVE
Kevin Smith was climbing a film prop designed like a castle when he fell on to a stone base, causing the head injuries that led to his death.

The actor had been drinking but was not intoxicated, his agent said yesterday.

Robert Bruce gave details of the New Zealand actor's death in China on behalf of Smith's wife, Suzanne, and family.

He said the accident happened on Smith's last day on the set of the movie Warriors of Virtue II, and no one saw it.

Smith had arranged to finish filming early so he could return to New Zealand and spend time with his family before heading to the United States. He was to enter a Navy SEALS "boot camp" to prepare for his next role, acting alongside Bruce Willis in Hawaii.

Mr Bruce said he understood Smith drank a couple of beers, ate dinner and took a walk around the Central China Television film studios while he waited for a ride to his hotel.

The studios are in Shijiazhuang, the capital city of the Hebei Province, 250km southwest of Beijing.

"He went for a wander around the film set and there was this castle-type film set structure which he climbed and fell," Mr Bruce said. "We don't know why but he was found at the base of that with head injuries.

"On film sets there are no bars or anything like that. If you have a couple of beers it's because someone brings in a six-pack at the end of the night."

He did not know how much time elapsed before Smith was discovered, semi-conscious. Mr Bruce said Smith's family had visited the film set where he died and had told him the structure was about three storeys high.

Smith was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to Beijing in the early hours of February 6.

At the Beijing hospital he fell into a coma and did not regain consciousness.

After several days, Smith showed signs of recovery, but his body went into shock, said Mr Bruce who had told Friday night's Holmes television show that the injuries were not life-threatening. He learned early on Saturday that Smith had died.

Mr Bruce said there were no suspicious circumstances and police were not investigating the accident. An autopsy was not carried out.

Asked if climbing a film prop was something Smith would normally do, Mr Bruce said: "This was one which must have taken his fancy as a lookout.

"I guess if you put yourself in the same position, you've finished filming, you're in the studio, some people have gone home, you're waiting for a lift and wandering around. Some of these sets I've been on are absolute works of art.

"So yeah, there'd be a certain amount of interest [in this prop] I'm sure."
 

ysm

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Goodbye Kevin.

I just recently found out about Kevin. There was no announcement in the NY press. I just happened to be surfing the Xena website and saw it. I was so sorry to hear about his death. Kevin was one of the main reasons I tuned into Xena week after week. I was looking forward to seeing what else he would appear in, and I couldn't wait to see when he would appear in Kevin Sorbo's new show, Andromeda.

My deepest sympathies to his family, friends and fans.:(
 

BONNIESTACKPOLE

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Ares was definately the break-out charactor in Xena and Hercules. I remember back when the original Star Wars was released, they tried to make Luke Skywalker the hunk and favorite charactor. Of course, it was Han Solo (Harrison Ford) that everyone went ga ga over, and a star was born.

If not for his untimely death, I think Kevin would have gone down the same path. He was supposed to start on a film in Hawaii with Bruce Willis in April. Such a waste of a talented actor, and from everything I've read about his personal life, a really nice guy.
 

tokyogirl

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i only just found out recently when i contacted an old friend. she told me and i couldn't believe it. it's so sad...:(
 

dlblue

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deepest regrets

My deepest sympathy goes out to the family of kevin. He was well loved in the world and was a wonderful actor and from what I have read a wonderful husband and father. I have just learned of his death recently and I feel your pain. In the past 4 months I have lost my grandfather, uncle, and best friend. Death is never easy to cope with much less the death of someone as talented and loved as kevin. It reminds me of the death of Jon Eric Hexum from voyagers fame. I think that movie sets should have safeguard to protect from senseless accidents like these.
I wish the family all of the love and care in the world to help in this terrible time.`
 
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