Michael Hurst

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Michael Hurst
Born Michael Eric Hurst
(1957-09-20) 20 September 1957 (age 59)
Lancashire, England
Occupation Actor, director, writer
Years active 1976–present
Spouse(s) Jennifer Ward-Lealand (1988–present)
Website www.michaelhurst.co.nz

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 and Ash vs Evil Dead.


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 1999's I'll Make You Happy. 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 went on to co-star in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys with Kevin Sorbo, playing nimble sidekick Iolaus to Sorbo's Hercules.

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".

In 2015, after critically acclaimed runs in New Zealand and at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Michael Hurst is Director of The Generation of Z: Apocalypse which is a high-velocity theatre experience being brought to a purpose-built venue in East London from 4 April 2015 to July 2015. "A lot of the reviews have said “immersive theatre into overdrive”. “Video game, only live.” It has those qualities. There are choices where the audience can affect the outcome of scenes which is quite a new thing. It flows very easily depending on which choice they make." Interview with LondonTheatre1 [1]


Starring roles[edit]

Year Title Role Other Notes
1981 Prisoners Sciano Film
1982 "Casualties of Peace" Peter TV Movie
1984 Constance Photographer (scenes deleted) Film
1984 "Heroes" Dave Nelson TV Series
1985 Death Warmed Up Michael Tucker Film
1985 Dangerous Orphans Moir Film
1986 "Heroes II" Dave Nelson TV Series
1989 "The Shadow Trader" Bob Hoyle TV Mini-Series
1992 The Footstep Man Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Film
1993 "Typhon's People" Constantine TV Movie
1993 Desperate Remedies Willam Poyser Film
1994 "Hercules and the Amazon Women" Iolaus TV Movie
1994 "Hercules in the Underworld" Iolaus TV Movie
1994 "Hercules in the Maze of the Minotaur" Iolaus TV Movie
1995 "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" Iolaus/Charon/Orestes/Dahak/Widow Twankey TV Series (79 episodes)
1997 A Moment Passing Joey Short Film
1997 The Bar Short Film
1997 "Highwater" Hugh Chance TV Movie
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 Film
1999 "This Is It" Narrator, host, and various historical figures TV Special
2001 "The Man Who Has Everything" George Allwell TV Movie
2002 Honey Nic Short Film
2002 "Showstoppers" celebrity judge TV Series
2003 "Murder on the Blade?" Defence lawyer TV Movie
2004 Fracture Athol Peet Film
2004 Hold the Anchovies Manager & Old Iraqi Video
2006 "Maddigan's Quest" Maska TV Series
2006 Treasure Island Kids: The Monster of Treasure Island ferry pilot Film
2007 "Ask Your Uncles" Presenter TV Series
2007 The Tattooist Crash Film
2007 We're Here To Help Rodney Hide Film
2007 The Last Magic Show Trevor Norton Film
2007 The Map Reader Alison's father Film
2009 Bitch Slap Gage Film
2012 Inorganic Brett Short Film
2014 Death Walks into a Bar God of War Short Film

Guest-starring roles[edit]

Year Title Role Episode
1976 "Thirty Minute Theatre" Jim "Tinkling Brass"
1983 "Both Sides of the Fence" Gary McNabb 1.09
1983 "Country GP" Mark Sloane 1.32
1985 "Hanlon" Elliott 1.6 "In Defence of Shue Rock"
1985 "Hanlon" Defence Lawyer 1.7 "In Defence"
1989 "Shark In the Park" David Jennings 2.8 "Acting Sergeant"
1990 "The New Adventures of Black Beauty" Kurt 1.08 "The Birdman"
1990 "The Ray Bradbury Theater" Roger Shumway 4.08 "The Toynbee Convector"
1991 "For the Love of Mike" Laurie 1.06
1992 "The Ray Bradbury Theater" Lt. Simmons 6.06 "The Long Rain"
1995 "Xena: Warrior Princess" Iolaus 1.08 "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 2.01
1999 "Sunday News Give Us a Clue" Himself
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 3.05 "Bowls and Golf"
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 TV Movie
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 1.05 "The Final Plume"
2003 "Good Morning" Himself
2003 "Shortland Street" Greg Vicelich Recurring (10 episodes)
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
2007 "Here to Stay" Himself 1.03 "The English"
2009 "Legend of the Seeker" Amfortas 1.13 "Revenant"
2010 "The Jono Project" "Michael Hurst" 1.12 "Sir Butch"
2012 "Spartacus: Vengeance" Roman soldier - uncredited 2.09 "Monsters"
2012 "The Almighty Johnsons" Kvasir 2.01 "And She Will Come to You"
2012 "The Almighty Johnsons" Kvasir 2.11 "The House of Jerome"
2012 "The Almighty Johnsons" Kvasir 2.12 "You Call This the Real World?"
2012 "The Almighty Johnsons" Kvasir 2.13 "Does this Look Like Asgard?"
2012 "Auckland Daze" Michael 1.06
2014 "Auckland Daze" Michael 2.05
2014 "Auckland Daze" Michael 2.06
2016 "Terry Teo" Cornelius Jones 1.04 "Head to Head"
2016 "Highroad" The Director 3.04 "39 Lashes"


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 Movie
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 Movie
2004 Treasure Island Kids: The Mystery of Treasure Island
2004 Treasure Island Kids: The Monster of Treasure Island
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")
2009 "Legend of the Seeker" (TV Series) (episode 2.2 "Baneling")
2010 "Legend of the Seeker" (TV Series) (episode 2.12 "Hunger")
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")
2012 "Spartacus: Vengeance" (TV Series) (episode 2.01 "Fugitivus")
2012 "Spartacus: Vengeance" (TV Series) (episode 2.06 "Chosen Path")
2013 "Spartacus: War of the Damned" (TV Series) (episode 3.04 "Decimation")
2013 "Spartacus: War of the Damned" (TV Series) (episode 3.09 "The Dead and the Dying")
2013 "The Almighty Johnsons" (TV Series) (episode 3.07 "Typical Auckland God")
2013 "The Almighty Johnsons" (TV Series) (episode 3.08 "The Asparagus is Kicking In")
2014 "The Brokenwood Mysteries" (TV Series) (episode 1.03 "Playing the Lie")
2014 "Step Dave" (TV Series) (episode 1.05 "My Room")
2014 "Step Dave" (TV Series) (episode 1.06 "Knocked Up Natalie")
2014 "Step Dave" (TV Series) (episode 1.07 "Promise and Deliver")
2015 "Step Dave" (TV Series) (episode 2.12 "Kids")
2015 "Step Dave" (TV Series) (episode 2.13 "Will You, Won't You")
2015 "Tatau" (TV Series) (episode 1.06)
2015 "Tatau" (TV Series) (episode 1.07)
2015 "Ash vs Evil Dead" (TV Series) (episode 1.06 "The Killer of Killers")
2015 "Ash vs Evil Dead" (TV Series) (episode 1.07 "Fire in The Hole")
2016 "Westside" (TV Series) (episode 2.03)
2016 "Westside" (TV Series) (episode 2.04)
2016 "Westside" (TV Series) (episode 2.07)
2016 "Westside" (TV Series) (episode 2.08)
2016 "800 Words" (TV Series) (episode 2.03)
2016 "800 Words" (TV Series) (episode 2.04)
2017 "800 Words" (TV Series) (episode 2.09)
2017 "800 Words" (TV Series) (episode 2.10)
2017 "800 Words" (TV Series) (episode 2.13)
2017 "800 Words" (TV Series) (episode 2.14)


Year Title Other Notes
2012 "Spartacus: War of the Damned" TV Series


Year Title Other Notes
1994 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Screenplay
1996 Clown Story Story


External links[edit]