Ever wonder what happened to some of the famous celebrities of the past? If you’re like most people, you probably have a favorite actor or actress from the past that you always follow, and wonder how they’re doing.
Some of those personalities fade away from the limelight as the years go by. Others remain in your heart all of your life, never forget no matter how many years pass. And then there are those who leave the Hollywood field completely, going off to seek fortunes in new endeavors.
One actor from the past that many people are curious about is Michael Hurst. Michael Hurst is most famous for his role as Iolaus in the 1995 series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys."
He also has also featured in many other films and directed productions too. Maybe you saw Hurst in one such film back in the day, and are curious to learn what he’s up to today.
If so, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about Michael Hurst, including what his current projects are.
Who is Michael Hurst?
Michael Hurst ONZM was born on September 20, 1957, in Lancashire, England. He moved to New Zealand when he was seven with his family after spending the first seven years of his life in Europe.
Hurst studied at the Papanui High School and then went on to attend the University of Canterbury where he graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature.
Hurst is regarded as one of the foremost actors from New Zealand and has won multiple awards for his talent.
Michael Hurst’s Career
After graduating from university, Michael Hurst began acting in 1984, playing the lead role in "Death Warmed Up." This film was a cult classic and remains popular today for its dark humor. His character was involved in a famous motorcycle chase scene and the film won the top jury prize at a prominent French film festival.
Later that year, Hurst began to play the character Dave Nelson in the show "Heroes." This show is about a band seeking to strike it big and become famous and influential.
Hurst continued to act for another decade, participating in films such as "Howling III" and "The Fly." He then landed the role of Iolaus in the series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys", which was filmed for six seasons.
Michael Hurst and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
The legend of Hercules was known throughout the ancient world, with numerous stories told about the demigod’s heroic struggles. A generation after his epic labors had come to an end, Hercules became a cult hero in Greece where he was worshipped as a god.
The character Iolaus played an instrumental role in many of the famous stories about Hercules. Michael Hurst played the role of Iolaus in the 1995 television Hercules, based on the famous legend.
He played the role for six years. The TV series was hugely popular and has been broadcast in over one hundred countries since its premiere.
The show also starred Kevin Sorbo as Hercules. The spinoff series Xena: Warrior Princess starred Lucy Lawless as Xena. Michael Hurst played the role of Iolaus in both shows.
He also voiced his character in the 1998 movie "Hercules and Xena – The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus."
Sorbo and Hurst were noted for their onscreen chemistry and banter, bringing added depth to the series. Just like in the legend, Iolaus was Hercules’s closest friend and confidant among the crew.
Iolaus often played the sidekick to Hercules, but he was more than just a simple tag-along. The dynamic duo brought excitement, action, and humor to the series. Hurst and Sorbo replicated this dynamic for their show. They were so popular that they sometimes made appearances together.
Are Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst friends?
Michael Hurst and Kevin Sorbo are still friends – in 2014, Sorbo posted a message sharing information about Hurst’s upcoming play on his Twitter account. Sorbo and Lucy Lawless of "Xena" later got into a spat about the 2021 capitol riots.
What did Michael Hurst do after Hercules?
Michael Hurst has appeared in many subsequent productions since his role on Hercules came to an end. For example, he played Rodney Hide in "We’re Here to Help," Nic in "Honey," and High Chance in "Highwater."
He also guest-starred in many roles and began to appear more frequently in theatrical productions.
His director credits began in 1994, when he directed the short film "I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry," followed up a few years later when he directed several episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
He directed his first feature-length film, "Jubilee," in 2000.
He also has some production experience, directing "Spartacus: War of the Damned" in 2012 – a TV series.
He later earned the honorific ONZM, which stands for Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. This award is given only to those rare individuals whose outstanding work has had a truly international impact.
Other recipients of the New Zealand Order of Merit include Sir Peter Jackson and Russell Crowe.
What is Michael Hurst doing now?
Michael is still acting and plans to perform in a remake of a play by the 1st-century playwright Apuleius in February of 2022.
He also directed and performed in "Landings" alongside his wife in the past, although the Akaroa Film Festival at which it was scheduled to premiere has been postponed.
Who Is Michael Hurst Married To?
Michael Hurst is married to actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand. They have been together since 1988.
The couple has two children together, Jack and Cameron.
They frequently can be found on stage together, and acting and theater are a big part of their relationship.
Michael Hurst is a prolific director as well. Between television, theater, teaching, live performance, and film, he has not been idle in recent years.
With such a long and storied career, we can expect to see much more from Michael Hurst.