For seven years, Kevin Sorbo played the hulking, heroic lead in USA Network’s “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” a role that made him a star. But the self-described jock from Minnetonka, Minnesota (the home of Tonka Toys), the fourth of five kids, got the acting bug at age 11 seeing something quite different – the musical Oklahoma and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at Minneapolis’s famed Guthrie Theater. Though he made his first commercial - for Target - while attending the University of Minnesota, Sorbo graduated from Moorehead State University in Fargo, North Dakota, with a dual degree in advertising and marketing.
In 1982, after college, Sorbo moved to Texas, where he began studying acting in earnest. A model friend there convinced him to travel to Europe, where he stayed for three years, building a tremendous commercial reel, with spots shot in cities from Milan and Munich to Paris and London. Within days of his return to the States in 1985, he shipped off to Australia for new commercial assignments, returning to L.A. six months later. Sorbo remained in demand through the early 90s, for both television and commercial work – he estimates appearing in 57 spots in the three years prior to being cast as Hercules.
After appearing in such series as “Murder, She Wrote,” “Cheers” and “The Commish,” and after seven call backs with producer Sam Raimi, Sorbo was given the role of Hercules. The character appeared first in a series of two hour movies as part of USA Network’s “The Action Pack,” alongside William Shatner’s “Tek Wars” and others – Hercules being the sole survivor of the group and landing its own series. The show was filmed in New Zealand over the next seven years, producing over 100 one hour episodes and launching several spinoffs.
Not long after leaving the show in 1999, Sorbo returned to the U.S. and was asked by “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry’s widow, Majel Barrett, if he might be interested in appearing in one of her husband’s unproduced series, “Andromeda,” which he accepted. Sorbo spent the next five years playing the heroic Captain Dylan Hunt, whose ship was locked in a time warp for 303 years and finally set free in the future. Sorbo also served as executive producer for the series. Through his tenure on “Andromeda,” he also made TV appearances in such series as “Dharma and Greg,” “Two and Half Men,” and a recurring role on “The O.C.” He also starred in two direct-to-video feature film releases for Sony, “Walking Tall 2” and “Walking Tall 3” and the Hallmark Channel Original Movie “The Santa Suit.”
Sorbo lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Sam Jenkins, and their three children.