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Me and The Widow Twanky

At the end of January, I attended an event in Los Angeles where I had the good fortune to spend a little time with Michael Hurst, the Arts Lauriate for New Zealand, who played the role of Iolaus in Hercules, The Legendary Journeys. Michael, an exceptionally talented and versatile actor, also played a good many other parts in that series, one of the most unique and memorable being The Widow Twanky. Ten years after the show stopped airing, for the first time, he reprised that role at a Convention and I had an opportunity to have a photo taken with Twanky. Makes me smile every time I see it. I remember when I first saw the initial episode when Twanky appeared. Not knowing Michael was playing the role, it took me a few minutes to realize it was him. Way back then, I never ever thought I'd ever have the opportunity to meet and talk with him -- which I've done a few times now -- or have a photo like this one. He and his wife, Jennifer Ward-Leland, are two truly warm, generous and remarkable individuals who graciously treat their fans as friends, and I feel very lucky to have spent time with both of them.

Courtesy of my good buddy, StarWatcher, I can now share the photo of a special moment with all of you.

Arianna, Widow Twanky


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
I love this photo..
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:14 am (UTC)
Thanks, Janet. It was just so amazing. When he saw me approaching, he held out his arms and literally grabbed me to hug me close, cheek to cheek, as you can see. He didn't do that with any of the others who'd lined up for a photo (I've seen them all on the Con website). Made me feel very special. And right after, when I said good-bye to Jennifer, she jumped up from her chair and gave me a huge hug, too! I just love them to bits.
(no subject) - justmej - Apr. 14th, 2009 07:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 14th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
That is such a lovely story. I always wonder if any of the celebs have read the stories written about their characters and actually puts them together with certain fans.

Great Picture, StarWatcher!
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:15 am (UTC)
Years ago, I know Michael did read some of the fanfic and, a very long time ago, I even gave him one story I'd written because it featured Iolaus in a role that Michael always wanted to see him in, that of the mythical legendary champion charioteer. ::grins::

But whether he now puts that together with me, I rather doubt, though it's hard to say. He has been introduced to me as both Arianna and Marilyn. I think, though, he and Jennifer more remember the letters I've sent about his appointment as Arts Lauriate and the Queen's Honours he has won in the past, as we share certain of the same honours, being part of the Commonwealth. I think they also recall a review of Waiting for Godot, a play he starred in, that I sent to the Auckland Herald some years ago. But they don't just treat me well. Over the years, they have named some of us publically and thanked us for our ongoing support and they seem genuinely glad to see us. The culture around acting and actors is very different in NZ and they interact with fans differently than most North American actors do.
(no subject) - starwatcher307 - Apr. 14th, 2009 01:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 14th, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
This is too cute! I thought he did a marvelous job a the widow. A great dancer, too!
Apr. 14th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, he and his wife are both brilliant performers, the toast of New Zealand. And they so clearly love their work, their kids and one another. Wonderful people.
Apr. 14th, 2009 01:02 pm (UTC)
He looks fabulous! And so do you. He sounds like a genuinely nice man
Apr. 14th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
Yes, he is, a very nice man.
Apr. 14th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC)

What a fab photo! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Apr. 14th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. I'm glad you dropped by to see it!
Apr. 14th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC)
\Big sappy grin/

An amazing moment, an amazing man - and two amazing ladies ... :-)

(I'm green, I tell you. Green! )

Edited at 2009-04-14 06:56 pm (UTC)
Apr. 14th, 2009 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, I wish so much you could have been there, too; it was an amazing weekend. I did tell you about it, didn't I? If not, I must write you a note soon. I was so glad Quietwolf finally got a chance to see him and chat with him, but it would have been perfect to have you there, too. I'm hoping they'll keep coming to the Creation Cons in LA in January each year, especially now that I'm staying in the trailer only about an hour away each winter. I know funds are tight, but if they come next year, please try to come over for a visit! If you can just get yourself here, I can take care of the rest.
(no subject) - mythichistorian - Apr. 14th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Nice to be able to view a larger image of the photo Marilyn.

A lovely moment to treasure always.

Apr. 14th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Gerri!
Apr. 14th, 2009 09:18 pm (UTC)
What a great photo and a cool story. I never watched Hercules much, but I think I can picture Iolaus and I never would've guessed this is the same actor. He and his wife sound like lovely people and it's so nice to hear of actors who truly enjoy and appreciate their fans.
Apr. 14th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
LOL, no, it doesn't look like him at all. I swear the fountain of youth is in NZ. Neither him nor Jennifer ever seem to age and he's even better looking now than he was then (and he was pretty cute then!)
Apr. 15th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
I loved Iolaus, and this is a great piccie! Thanks to Starwatcher for formatting it for you, so you could share it with us. I loved Widow Twanky, whenever she showed up.

Have you seen the song vid someone made of Madame Twanky to I'm Holding Out for a Hero? I laughed so hard, I almost hurt myself! It was great.

Thanks for letting us see two great women!
Apr. 15th, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
Sallye, no I haven't seen the vid! Do you know where I might find it?

God, he's such a charmer and screamingly funny, especially as Twanky. He had us in stitches.
(no subject) - sallye - Apr. 15th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sallye - Apr. 17th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caarianna - Apr. 17th, 2009 04:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sallye - Apr. 17th, 2009 04:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caarianna - Apr. 17th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sallye - Apr. 17th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caarianna - Apr. 17th, 2009 05:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 22nd, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
What a nice story and a really great pic. I didn't recognize Mr. Hurst at all until I read what you'd written. And, of course, *then* I saw it. The picture has such an funny, upbeat and happy flair, I'm really glad you got the chance to meet him and his wife and get that picture. :-)
Apr. 23rd, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, Pat. It was such a great weekend. :)
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )