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Paul Gross: actor, writer, director

The Story

Canadian revenues alone can't support an action-oriented TV series like Due South. And without the show's American backers committing to a third season in 1996, actor Paul Gross isn't sure he'll be back as RCMP officer Benton Fraser. Gross, the Alberta-born son of a military family, has gained lots of attention for the role, which also allows him to use his skills as a horseman and a musician. In this interview with CBC Radio's Peter Gzowski, Gross looks back fondly on a comic scene with fellow Canadian Leslie Nielsen.

Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: May 30, 1996
Guest(s): Paul Gross
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 26:54
CBC Image Research Library

Did You know?

• Paul Gross was born in Calgary in 1959 but, since his father was in the military, spent much of his youth in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. He returned to Alberta to attend theatre school in Edmonton.

• Gross wrote the screenplay (based on a book by Martin O'Malley) for Gross Misconduct, a 1993 TV movie directed by Atom Egoyan. The movie tells the tragic story of NHL player Brian (Spinner) Spencer.
• At first, Gross wasn't sure he wanted to take on the role of Benton Fraser in Due South. "It sounded pretty goofy," Gross told Entertainment Weekly (Nov. 25, 1994). But after reading the script for the series' two-hour debut movie, "I thought it was one of the funniest things," he said. "But I had been reading a lot of dreck at that point." Due South was on the air until 1999.

• Gross directed, co-wrote and starred in the 2002 curling comedy Men With Brooms.

• In 2006 Gross began shooting on Passchendaele, a movie centred on the First World War battle of the same name. The film premiered in 2008 and picked up six Genie awards, including Best Motion Picture.

• For his work as writer, director, co-producer and lead actor in Passchendaele, Gross won the 2009 National Arts Centre Award, an honour that is complementary to the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. The award is chosen by the NAC's Board of Trustees from a list proposed by a nominating committee of NAC artistic programmers.  He also won The Governor General's History Award for Popular Media: The Pierre Berton Award in 2009.




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