Once a kid... always a kid

 

"I'm still a kid." - Kevin Sorbo, November 1996 (Total TV mag)

 

September, 24

1896 - birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald (St.Paul, Minnesota). Great writer, who said once: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise." Was he really speaking about Kev' main characters - Hercules & Dylan? May be no... then may be yes :).

 

Kevin was born on the 24th September 1958 in a strict Lutheran family of Norwegian background. (And he obviously loves to repeat: "I'm 100% Norwegian.") The fourth of five children, Sorbo grew up in Mound, Minnesota, then the most rural part of the suburbs of Minneapolis, where the Minnesota Vikings were minor gods and the Tonka Toys Co. was lord of the manor. His father, Lynn, taught junior-high biology and math, his mother, Ardis, quit nursing to raise the children. He had as solid, stable and normal childhood as one could find among Hollywood actors.


Kevin Sorbo: Everyone in my family has a first or middle name that's biblical and mine is David.
(06.96 Answers for H:TLJ Forum)

Kevin Sorbo: I grew up in a little town in Minnesota called Mound, which was about 30 minutes west of Minneapolis. (16.02.01 ABC Sports Online)

Kevin Sorbo: I had a great childhood in a fantastic neighbourhood. (1996/97 TV Guide Entertainment)

Q: How do you think your small town, Midwestern upbringing serves you in dealing with your success? -- Kevin Sorbo: I think the combination of where I grew up and how I was raised and also the fact that I paid my dues in Hollywood. ((07).97 AOL Live Chat Olds Celebrity Circle)

 

Right & wrong side up

Q: What was your first kiss like? -- Kevin Sorbo: Oh man! Betty Burak, and I was 5 years old. We used to take naps together in kindergarten. We still know each other because we ended up graduating high school together. (03.11.96 New York Sunday Daily News)

As a child, Mom Ardis Sorbo says, he was very camera shy: "When the grandparents wanted to take pictures, he would run in the other room and hide." (10.02.97 Broadcast Monday, KARE 11)

 

It's easy to realize how high Kevin values his early years by reading interviews - when asked about mythology, Australia, Star Trek or music, he goes: "As a kid I...." No one will be so ready to return to the childhood if it was not warm, safe and cosy.

Sorbo recalls watching Steve Reeves's Hercules movies with his older brothers. (03.07.95 People)

"I watched all the Steve Reeves "Hercules" movies," Kevin says. "I used to go out in the neighborhood with my friends and we'd fight the imaginary monsters. Later, in junior high and high school, I read a lot of mythology and was fascinated by it." (02.06.96 TV & Satellite Week #22)

Kevin Sorbo: I used to play Hercules and Superman. Even after seeing Bruce Lee I would run about the backyard and 'kung fu' everything. (09.96 Black Belt #9)

Sorbo recalls absorbing such adventurous television fare as the original "Star Trek" and "Jason and the Argonauts." (14.03.97 Source unknown)

Kevin Sorbo: Growing up as a kid that loved action, I loved comic books myself -- I read comic books all the time as a kid. Spider-Man was my favorite! (07.97 R.Witterstaetter interviewed Sorbo in Auckland)

Kevin Sorbo: I hated big weddings when I was a kid. (22.06.98 People)

Sorbo recalls that, as a child, he was passionate about Star Trek, and his respect for the legendary Great Bird of the Galaxy was fostered at an early age. "I was like six years old, and my older brothers watched Star Trek. And you kind of do what your older brothers do. I became more hooked on the show in reruns, when I got into high school and college." (04.00 Xena Mag #4)

 

As a little boy, what did you get spanked for? - Kevin Sorbo: Just about everything. (01.97 Cleo Magazine)

 

Kevin Sorbo: As a kid growing up, I used to always fantasize about being indestructible. That I could go in and take care of the bad guys and save the world. ((12).11.96 Total TV mag)

 

Kevin Sorbo: Ever since I was a child I can remember just staring at the night sky for hours in wonderment. (?? 02.95 Starlog #211)

 

And why not to imagine little Kev croonig that Indian love song "By the waters of Minnetonka"...

 

From the young days Kevin knows one of the basic golf rules: "Keep your eye on the ball".

Kevin Sorbo: My dad was a teacher in that school district, but in the summer time he managed a small public course. It was a wide-open, par 69 course that was just beautiful, with a couple of little lakes and trees all around it. It was one of those courses that was great to learn on because you could just go out there and spray the ball all over the place. Plus, I had two older brothers who played the game, and when you're a little kid you want to hang out with your older brothers. Golf was available to us. It was there and it was free. Of course, our main sports were football, basketball and baseball, but golf was there since I was 7 or 8 years old. And there was no dress code at this course. We didn't have to wear shoes and we didn't have to wear shirts, so we ran around in just our shorts having a blast on the course. My memory of golf growing up was that it was this big, free thing to do. I loved it. (13.11.99 Golfgateway.com)

Sorbo grew up playing shirtless and barefoot on the course his father, Lynn, managed every summer (Lake View Golf Course in Minnetonka). (03/04.00 Vegas Golfer)

 

His childhood was light, but not without duties.

Kevin Sorbo: I grew up with a real midwestern work ethic that was instilled by my parents. I started a paper route when I was in the third grade, getting up at 4:30 in the morning, and did that till my sophomore year of high school. The whole family, including three brothers and a sister, was that way. (16.12.95 TV Guide)

Kevin Sorbo: I've always been an early riser. I was a paper boy starting in second grade for about six years. (06.96 Answers for H:TLJ Forum)

Kevin Sorbo: I used to have a paper route. That was a big thing to raise money. I was in second grade, I started this paper route. I got up at 4:30 every morning for six mornings a week. And you've got winters in Minnesota, which are brutal. But I used to - you're eight years old. You go to people's houses, you see their cars are home, you hear their TV on, and they're peeking out. They don't want to pay a buck twenty for two weeks of delivering paper. (14.02.02 Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, TV)

 

Well, what about the school routine? He attended Shirley Hills Grade School and Grandview Middle School.

 

Kevin Sorbo: When I was 11, my parents brought me to a play called "Oklahoma!" I saw it and that was it. I knew then that I wanted to be an actor. (07.95 Kidsday)

 

Kevin Sorbo: "And you're gonna love this - my inspiration was the musical 'Oklahoma!'" Yes, it took corn-fed 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein to pull Sorbo's all-American strings. "I was 11 years old and 'Oklahoma!' made me laugh, made me cry, and I said 'Wow, I want to do that to people." (11-12.95 Orange County Register)

Kevin Sorbo: ''My parents took me to see 'Oklahoma!', and I was sold. That 'wind sweeping down the plain' got to me." (29.08.97 Winston-Salem Journal)

Q: What is you favorite scene in 'Oklahoma'? -- Kevin Sorbo: Oh man, I gotta lot of scenes I like in that show. Why do they do this to me. I like the opening, when he's riding through the corn field on his horse singing about the beautiful morning. It's really a great song. It's a cool opening. Typical R&H stuff. (06.96 Answers for H:TLJ Forum)

Kevin Sorbo: One of the main reasons I got involved in acting, when I was a kid I saw a play and it touched me so much. It opened my eyes. Even though I'd been watching movies prior to that and watching television as a child, something happened to me on that night, and every time I went to the movies after that I looked at them differently than I know a lot of kids looked at them. Maybe I didn't look at them differently, maybe I was more aware of what's happening in terms of the emotional journeys I was being taken on in terms of making me cry, making me think, making me laugh, making me wonder, making whatever. Whatever the magic of being in movies or seeing a good television show did to me, I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to do that to other people. ((12).11.96 Total TV mag)

 

Kevin attended Mound Public High School (later the name was changed to Mound Westonka High School).

At high school, Kevin played football, basketball, was on the student council and was voted most versatile. (10.02.97 Broadcast Monday, KARE 11)

Kevin Sorbo: I was a good athlete and I could've been a very good athlete. I had good work ethics but I had sort of a bad attitude. I think that's part of being a kid, part of being a teenager. I had two older brothers that were trying to tell me how I should have done things and as a teenager you don't listen to that. You think you know everything; you don't know squat. (06.96 Answers for H:TLJ Forum)

His favorite sport was basketball, he was so obsessed that he used to chip the ice off the driveway in the middle of February to shoot hoops outside, in twenty below weather. (before 2002 Source unknown)

Kevin Sorbo: [My three brothers and I] we all grew up pretty athletic - we did real well playing football, baseball and basketball through the years. Because of our athleticism, golf was a game that was easy for us to pick up on. I never took any lessons, but I ended up being pretty good at it, and ended up playing on my high school golf team. (16.02.01 ABC Sports Online)

Q: Were you a hunk in high school? -- Kevin Sorbo: Well, I was always athletic. I wasn't All-American or anything, but I was good enought to start on the varsity teams. I wouldn't lift weights because I thought it would wreck my touch with basketball. I was 6 foot 3 by the time I was junior in high school, but I was a twig. (03.11.96 New York Sunday Daily News)

Kevin Sorbo: In school I was introduced to Greek Mythology when I was in junior high and I loved it. I think as a kid I was certainly fascinated with Zeus because he was larger than life and king of the gods. Also, Neptune with the oceans. (06.96 Answers for H:TLJ Forum)

Kevin Sorbo: I did plays all through junior high and high school. (07.95 Kidsday)

Q: How did you initially get involved in acting? -- Kevin Sorbo: There's really no easy way to say it, it's just something I always wanted to do and I pursued it. I did plays in high school. (03.04 dvd/authority online article)

Kevin Sorbo "looked like a geek - just like the rest of us," says account manager Mark Muth, the superhero's best friend since they grew up in Mound. At Mound High - where the 6'3" teen was 40 pounds shy of his current weight of 205 - Sorbo played basketball and baseball. (18.04.97 People)

Kevin Sorbo: I took glad drafting when I was in high school and I sketched my own house. I drew the plans for my own house, my dream house I wanted to build one day. (13.01.03 Cityline, Canada TV)

 

Kevin Sorbo: I wanted to be an actor. It's funny, though, I didn't share that with anyone for years. Maybe that was an insecurity, maybe a fear. (03.07.95 People)

Sorbo says he always dreamed of being an actor, but worried about damaging his cool image. "In high school there was a stigma about being an actor, so I played baseball, football and basketball," says Kevin. (02.09.96 Womans Day, N.Z.)

Mom Ardis Sorbo: "He never informed anybody, not his friends, us, nobody. So the whole family was very surprised." (10.02.97 Broadcast Monday, KARE 11)

Kevin didn't dare act. "I grew up in a jock neighborhood where you were considered a sissy if you were into that," Kevin says. (18.04.97 People)

 

Though Kevin couldn't do what his heart wanted, he never was alone - he had his shining dream, true friends and caring family.

 

"Actually I just said 'no' to being on 'The Tonight Show' ... and, oh, my gosh, 'The Tonight Show' was always a real fantasy for me," Sorbo says, almost bashful. "But I just really want to take some vacation with my high school buddies. Hey, they're my three closest friends. I've known them for 30 years." (03.12.95 Austin American-Statesman)

Kevin Sorbo: My closest friends now are still the ones I've had since high school. (1996/97 TV Guide Entertainment)

Q: You keep in touch with all the folks you went to high school with? - Kevin Sorbo: Yes. - Q: It's amazing. - KS: I know. I had a really tight class and I have good friends from those days and we kept in touch through college and after that, we get together every year. (10.02.97 Broadcast Monday, KARE 11)

 

"I'm the only actor, the only retarded one," Sorbo says with a laugh. "But my parents were very, very good. They let us all follow our own paths." (11-12.95 Orange County Register)

Kevin Sorbo: My parents were always behind me and never pushed me to try something different with my life. (10.02.97 Broadcast Monday, KARE 11)

No one must be surprised to know him faithfully coming back to Minnesota every Christmas to be with friends, family and especially his parents, or to have such answers in interviews: "Name one thing you can't say no to. -- My mom." (01.97 Cleo Magazine) and "Whom would you consider your hero? -- My father." (06.01 The Leisure Hive, Canada)

 

Kevin graduated from the high school in 1977.

 

 

The tireless, charming and cheerful son of loving parents. 11th grade school photo from a yearbook.

 

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Bits of the articles are reprinted here for educational purposes only. They will be removed if requested by copyright holders.

I've grabbed "Kevin in glasses" from the site, which doesn't exist now. If I'm mistaken & it only changed the URL, I ask webmaster to contact me.


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