BY Debra Rutherford

Paul Gross received the 2005 ACTRA Toronto Award of Exellence for his tireless dedication as an actor, writer, and director. Paul is “without question a real Canadian star – an accomplished actor, a respected and notable writer and director, known to audiences around the world,” said ACTRA Toronto President Karl Pruner. “He has demonstrated true leadership in the campaign to foster Canadian culture for a vibrant English-Canadian film industry.”

The Award of Excellence was presented to Paul earlier this year by the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) at a gala ceremony at the CARLU in College Park.

Paul Gross has received five Gemini Awards, two for best actor as Constable Benton Fraser from the hailed Canadian series Due South which is acknowledged as a Canadian landmark — the first programming produced for prime-time television in the U.S. market and seen in over 200 countries internationally. Paul received another Gemini for his writing on the same series which he also produced during the final season. His fourth and fifth Geminis were for his performance as an actor in the movie network mini-series, Slings and Arrows. In 2000, Mr. Gross co-wrote, directed and stared in Men with Brooms, the highest-grossing (sorry about that) English-Canadian film of the past 20 years. He always claimed it to be the best film about curling…and the only one.

As an award-winning playwright, Paul Gross first wrote The Deer and the Antelope Play, performed in Edmonton and winner of the Clifford E. Lee national playwriting award in 1982. For television he wrote In This Corner, an episode for CBC’s For the Record series about terrorism and a widely-acclaimed drama, Gross Misconduct, concerning the life of Brian Spencer.

Paul appeared in Aspen Extreme (one of my favourite films), Murder Most Likely, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Tales of the City, Chasing Rainbows, Whale Music, H2O and countless other acclaimed films, winning the admiration of fellow performers and industry colleagues.

His theatre experiences include Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, in Stratford, for which he was presented the Dora Mavor Moore Award as best actor in 1988.

Paul was born in Calgary, Alberta in 1959 just off Dinosaur Park, but lives in Toronto with his family.

He continues to bring professionalism, humour and a touch of class to the Canadian film industry. I salute this great Canadian — even when he’s not in uniform — and congratulate him on his ACTRA Toronto Award of Excellence.