Michael Hurst

Michael Hurst
Michael Hurst
Born Michael Eric Hurst
20 September 1957 (1957-09-20) (age 54)
Lancashire, England
Occupation Actor, director, writer
Years active 1976–present
Spouse Jennifer Ward-Lealand (1988-present)

Michael Eric Hurst, ONZM (born 20 September 1957) is a New Zealand actor, director and writer, mostly on stage and television. He is probably best known internationally for playing Iolaus in the television programs Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and companion series Xena: Warrior Princess. Most recently, he is known for his role in directing the popular Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.



Hurst was born in Lancashire, England, the eldest of three brothers. When he was seven his family moved to Christchurch, New Zealand. He enrolled at Papanui High School, then University of Canterbury, but for only one year.

He married New Zealand actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand in 1988. They have two sons: Jack Louis Ward Hurst, born in 1997, and Cameron Lane Ward Hurst, born in 1999.

In 1984, Hurst won the lead role of David Blyth's Death Warmed Up, New Zealand's first splatter movie. The plot saw Hurst's character weathering institutionalisation, sundry wackos, and a motorcycle chase in the tunnels below Waiheke Island. The film won the grand prize at a fantasy film festival in Paris. The same year Hurst began playing drummer Dave Nelson over two series of Heroes, about a band searching for fame.

Crime thriller Dangerous Orphans (1986) is the first film in which Hurst co-starred with real-life partner Jennifer Ward-Lealand (he had already acted with her on-stage). Hurst was one of three grown orphans caught up in a mission to one-up various criminal figures; Ward-Lealand played romantic interest to one of the other orphans.

Hurst would work with Ward-Lealand again on his next three features, 1992's The Footstep Man, 1993's Desperate Remedies, and I'll Make You Happy in 1999. In 1993, he starred alongside Australian Sophie Lee and Brit Greg Wise in TV thriller Typhon's People. Hurst played a European mystery man uncovering the truth behind corporate genetic meddling. The script was by author Margaret Mahy.

Hurst made his feature debut as a director with Jubilee (2000), based on the book by Nepi Solomon. The film stars Cliff Curtis as a kind-hearted procrastinator who gets the chance to prove himself by organising a 75th jubilee.

Hurst followed Jubilee by directing Love Mussel, an acclaimed one off satire for television. Written by Braindead's Stephen Sinclair and starring Kevin Smith, Love Mussel is a mockumentary about a fictional township which erects a monument to a shellfish with Viagra-like properties.

In 2003, Hurst was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. He was later designated an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2005 "for services to film and the theatre".


Starring roles

Year Title Role Other Notes
1981 Prisoners Sciano
1982 Casualties of Peace Peter TV
1984 Constance Photographer (scenes deleted)
1984 "Heroes" Dave Nelson TV Series
1985 Hanlon: In Defence of Minnie Dean Elliott TV
1985 Death Warmed Up Michael Tucker
1985 Dangerous Orphans Moir
1986 "Heroes II" Dave Nelson TV Series
1989 The Shadow Trader Bob Hoyle TV
1992 The Footstep Man Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
1993 Typhon's People Constantine TV
1993 Desperate Remedies Willam Poyser
1994 Hercules and the Amazon Women Iolaus TV
1994 Hercules in the Underworld Iolaus TV
1994 Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur Iolaus TV
1995 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" Iolaus/Charon/Orestes/Dahak/The Twanky Widow TV Series
1997 A Moment Passing Joey
1997 The Bar
1997 Highwater Hugh Chance TV
1998 Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus Iolaus (voice) Video
1998 Young Hercules The Jeweler Video
1999 I'll Make You Happy Lou
1999 This Is It Narrator, host, and various historical figures TV
2001 The Man Who Has Everything George Allwell TV
2002 Honey Nic
2002 Showstoppers celebrity judge TV Series
2003 Murder on the Blade Defence lawyer TV
2004 Fracture Athol Peet
2004 Hold the Anchovies Manager & Old Iraqi Video
2006 "Maddigan's Quest" Maska TV Series
2007 "The Tattooist" Crash Film
2007 "We're Here To Help" Rodney Hide Film
2009 "Bitch Slap" Gage Film

Guest-starring roles

Year Title Role Episode
1976 "Thirty Minute Theatre" Jim "Tinkling Brass"
1983 "Both Sides of the Fence" Gary McNabb 1.9
1989 "Shark In the Park" David Jennings "Acting Sergeant"
1990 "The New Adventures of Black Beauty" Kurt 1.8 "The Birdman"
1990 "The Ray Bradbury Theater" Roger Shumway 4.8 "The Toynbee Convector"
1991 "For the Love of Mike" Laurie 1.6
1992 "The Ray Bradbury Theater" Lt. Simmons 6.6 "The Long Rain"
1995 "Xena: Warrior Princess" Iolaus 1.8 "Prometheus"
1996 "Xena: Warrior Princess" Charon 1.16 "Mortal Beloved"
1997 "Xena: Warrior Princess" Iolaus 2.13 "The Quest"
1997 "E! News Daily" Himself
1997 "Entertainment Tonight" Himself
1998 "Young Hercules" Charon 1.20 "A Lady in Hades"
1999 "Celebrity Profile" Himself "Lucy Lawless"
1999 "Backch@t" Himself 2.1
1999 "Sunday News Give Us a Clue"
1999 "Duggan" Michael Taylor 1.3 "A Shadow of Doubt: Part 1"
1999 "Duggan" Michael Taylor 1.4 "A Shadow of Doubt: Part 2"
2000 "Topp Twins" celebrity golfer
2000 "Mai Time" Himself
2000 "Celebrity Profile" Himself "Kevin Sorbo"
2000 "Jack of All Trades" Captain Nardo da Vinci 2.2 "Shark Bait"
2001 "Love Mussel" Stephen Jessop
2001 "Xena: Warrior Princess" Nigel 6.13 "You Are There"
2002 "Andromeda" Ryan 2.20 "The Knight, Death and the Devil"
2002 "Mataku" Dr. Forbes 1.5 "The Final Plume"
2003 "Good Morning" Himself
2003 "Shortland Street" Greg Vicelich
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "D.J. Drummond" (voice) 1.20 "Good Will Hunter"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.27 "Shane's Karma: Part 2"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.30 "The Wild Wipeout"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.31 "Double-Edged Blake"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.33 "General Deception, Part I"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.34 "General Deception, Part II"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.35 "A Gem of a Day"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.36 "Down and Dirty"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.37 "Storm Before the Calm, Part I"
2003 "Power Rangers: Ninja Storm" "Vexacus" (voice) 1.38 "Storm Before the Calm, Part II"
2005 "Power Rangers: S.P.D." Silverhead (voice) 1.28 "Robotpalooza"
2005 "Frontseat" Himself 2.24
2009 "Legend of the Seeker" Amfortas 1.13 "Revenant"


Year Title Other Notes
1994 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
1996 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series) (episode 3.01 "Mercenary")
1997 Amazon High TV
1997 "Xena: Warrior Princess" (TV Series) (episode 2.15 "A Day in the Life")
1997 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series) (episode 4.08 " . . . And Fancy Free")
1998 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series) (episode 4.17 "One Fowl Day")
1998 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series) (episode 5.01 "Faith")
1998 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series) (episode 5.07 "Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge")
1998 "Xena: Warrior Princess" (TV Series) (episode 4.06 "A Tale of Two Muses")
1999 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (TV Series) (episode 5.15 "Greece is Burning")
2000 "Jack of All Trades" (TV Series) episode 2.04 "The Morning After"
2000 "Jack of All Trades" (TV Series) episode 2.06 "One, Two, Three, Give Me Lady Liberty"
2000 "Xena: Warrior Princess" (TV Series) (episode 5.16 "Life Blood")
2000 "Xena: Warrior Princess" (TV Series) (episode 5.18 "Anthony & Cleopatra")
2000 "Xena: Warrior Princess" (TV Series) (episode 6.04 "Who's Gurkhan")
2000 Jubilee
2001 "Xena: Warrior Princess" (TV Series) (episode 6.15 "To Helicon and Back")
2001 Love Mussel TV
2004 Treasure Island Kids: The Mystery of Treasure Island
2006 The Darkroom
2007 Pumpkinhead:Blood feud
2009 Legend of the Seeker (TV Series) (episode 1.08 "Denna")
2009 Legend of the Seeker (TV Series) (episode 1.10 "Sacrifice")
2009 Legend of the Seeker (TV Series) (episode 1.22 "Reckoning")
2010 Legend of the Seeker (TV Series) (episode 2.17 "Vengeance")
2010 Legend of the Seeker (TV Series) (episode 2.21 "Unbroken")
2010 Spartacus: Blood and Sand (TV Series) (episode 1.05 "Shadow Games")
2010 Spartacus: Blood and Sand (TV Series) (episode 1.09 "Whore")
2010 Spartacus: Blood and Sand (TV Series) (episode 1.12 "Revelations")
2011 Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (TV Series) (episode 1.03 "Paterfamilias")


Year Title Other Notes
1994 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Screenplay

External links

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