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 Feb. 15 in Beijing from injuries suffered in a fall down several flights of stairs on Feb. 6. He was in Beijing to shoot the U.S.-Chinese martial arts film "Warriors of Virtue II."
Smith worked mostly in his native country, but was preparing for his first Hollywood role in the $70-million action film "Man of War," starring Bruce Willis. Filming was to start next month in Hawaii.
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. He also worked a series of odd jobs, including bank clerk and furniture mover, before becoming an actor.
In the 1980s, he was a member of the New Zealand post-punk band Say Yes to Apes.
Smith starred in several plays and movies in his homeland. He also appeared in two soap operas, "Gloss" and "Marlin Bay," which included "Xena" star Lucy Lawless in the cast. Smith also appeared in the series "Hercules."
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; and three sons, Oscar, 11; Tyrone, 9; and Willard, 3.