Over the weekend, Adrian Paul, best known for his portrayal of Duncan Macleod on Highlander the series, as well as the founder of the charitable organization, The Peace Fund; spoke up on Facebook about his recently departed friend and co-star, Stan Kirsch, in a very touching and moving piece.
In his own words, the actor spoke of a great nickname Kirsch was called, ‘Stan The Man‘ by those close to him on the show, as well as about Kirsch’s personal growth on the television series. Paul also spoke of how well-loved Kirsch was by everyone he worked with, along with the close brother-like bond he and Paul formed over the five years of filming Highlander in both North America and Europe.
Paul spoke with great reverence about Kirsch’s talent, his dedication to his craft, how well-loved his character was by the show’s many fans, the practical jokes played on the Highlander set, as well as how good of a man Kirsch was to his core and even what Paul went through upon hearing of his good friends untimely passing.
While I have never had the pleasure of meeting Stan ‘The Man’ Kirsch, I did have a chance to listen to Adrian Paul speak at a Dragon Con in Atlanta Georgia, and listening to him speak then, like reading his words about his dear friend, Stan Kirsch; deeply moved me as we hope they will move you.
And so we at SciFi Pulse thought that it was appropriate to publish Adrian Paul’s post in full, in order to pay respect to Stan Kirsch and the joy he has brought to so many fans and people around the world.
“In Memoriam. Stan The Man.
Now that isn’t just a title, it’s a nickname those close to Stan Kirsch would affectionately call him during the early years filming on Highlander-the-Series. I met Stan in Vancouver in July 1992, an excitable young boy with a passion for acting. Little did I know it at the time, but he would become more than my closest ally in an amazing journey for the next five years, he became my friend and what he termed, “my little brother”. It was true, especially when a year or so later, he met my actual younger brother and realized I treated him just the same way. I wasn’t the only one who thought of Stan in that way. Even though they were almost the same age, French actress Alexandra Vandernoot, who played Tessa Noel, always saw Stan as being much younger than her.
To understand why you have to look at what a great acting teacher once told me. “As you change as an actor, you change as a human being and as you change as a human being you will change as an actor”. Acting has that effect, it is many times, a reflection of life. Stan’s character in the series was an inquisitive and impetuous young man whose mentor Duncan Macleod would always have to keep an eye on. And so that is also what happened in real life, as we went back and forth between North America and France for the next five years. From being woken up at 2am in the morning after he was struck across the face by a girl’s stiletto heel, to the hours of discussions about our work, to the practical jokes we constantly played on each other. We created a bond that was very much like that of siblings and really shaped who we were going to be over the next 20 years.
But it wasn’t certain in the first year of filming whether Stan’s character was going to be there for the entire run. When his character was revealed to be Immortal and Duncan Macleod took him under his wing, many people went back through the prior episodes and “uncovered” clues that pointed to the fact that it had been a well-crafted storyline from the beginning. The fact was, that it was a decision made only at the start of the second season and that was because Stan, as a person had brought so much life to his character of Richie Ryan that fans loved him and the producers and writers saw the possibility of developing it much further. He lasted in the show for five seasons and as luck would have it Duncan Macleod, was the one to kill him off. The day we shot that, was not only a hard day for me but also the whole crew. It felt as if we were losing a family member.
When people ask me what I remember most of Stan, it was his laugh. A wide-open belly wrenching laugh that doubled him over whenever we did something inappropriate, or when he successfully accomplished a practical joke. Like the one we played on Alexandra Vandernoot, telling her that stray cats we actually banned on sets in Canada and you could get into serious trouble if one was found, then placing cat hairs on the floor in her trailer. Other times it would be at my expense. One that I always come to mind was the cream pie fight in the lunch trailer when, in full costume, we decided to start pelting each other across the lunchroom with the carefully made French cream pies, eventually not only covering ourselves but the entire lunch truck in a creamy mess.
Apart from the fun, there were serious moments too. Stan loved acting, he wanted to be respected for his craft, which he later did by becoming a great acting teacher, loved and respected by many who he helped put into numerous films and television shows. But he was also a good man. He attended several events for my charity, The Peace Fund, helping give inspiration to underprivileged kids. Stan was a good man to his core. Over the years we spent less time with each other, as you do with careers and life-changing your priorities. But when we caught up together the relationship was the same. Of course, we both had different lives but the respect and comradery were still there.
When I heard of Stan’s passing, I was in shock. I sat in my car, my son in the seat behind me asking me what had happened, listening to my manager tell me the news. I couldn’t really explain to my son either, because I didn’t really couldn’t comprehend it myself. I knew he had been in pain for a while after two surgeries that didn’t solve the neck problems he had been having for a few years, but I had never thought that this would be the way his life would end.
Stan you were my friend, my little brother. I will always remember the laughter and memories we had together for the rest of the time I have on this earth. May you now be free from the obvious pain you felt.
Until we meet again, may the winds be with you.”
You can read lots more about Adrian Paul on his Facebook Page, where the above excerpts came from.