Kevin Smith

While his swarthy, dark good looks allowed him to convincingly play everything from cads to outright villains on screen, New Zealand native Kevin Smith was also an accomplished musician and stage performer who amassed an eclectic resume over a career that spanned more than two decades. The son of a career naval officer, Smith spent part of his early life moving around his native land (and even passed a year in Sydney, Australia) before his family finally settled in Timaru, New Zealand. His interest in performing was stoked by the school's drama club, but the athletic youth also harbored a desire to play professional sports. When his nascent career in pro rugby was derailed by an injury, though, he turned to his other love and auditioned for a touring production of the stage musical "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" in 1987. Cast as one of Elvis Presley's bodyguards, Smith was also tapped to understand the lead role, but he never got to go on as The King as the show failed to find an audience and the tour was curtailed. Other stage roles followed before the actor landed his first TV gig on the serial "Gloss" in 1989. On this sort of Kiwi "Dynasty," Smith was cast as the caddish lover of the daughter of a publishing magnate. He got to stretch his comedic muscles two years later playing Joe Blow, a character no one can understand because of his use of slang and his penchant for telling stories with no point, in the sketch series "Away Laughing."