'He who laughs, lasts': Canadian icon Paul Soles leaves a humorous legacy

The late actor and TV host's 70-year career has left a mark on Canadian show business.

Canadian icon Paul Soles, whose multi-faceted career spanned radio, TV, animation and theatre across Canada and the United States, passed away at the age of 90 last Wednesday in his hometown of Toronto. 

Over the course of his celebrated career, Paul Soles hosted five national CBC Radio and TV series, including the daytime talk show Take 30 for 16 years. 

Paul Soles: actor, TV host and Spider-Man

Digital Archives

34 years ago
The longtime host of CBC daytime talk show Take 30 talks about his return to the stage in 1987. 6:41

He was best known as the voice behind Peter Parker on the original 1960's Spider-Man cartoon series, and recently won a Canadian Screen Award for his lead role in My 90-Year-Old Roommate

"Soles was committed to the highest standards throughout his 70 year career," says his obituary, but "by nature he tended undeniably towards mirth. 'He who laughs, lasts' was an oft repeated aphorism. He delighted in cracking people up on air and off and was a terrific joke-teller, an impressive mimic, accent man, public speaker, story-reader, announcer, host, emcee, compare." 

His manager, Angela Wright, confirmed the news of his passing in a Facebook post.

"Paul Soles was truly a Canadian treasure," she wrote. "He lived a long life with so many adventures along the way. RIP."

Paul Soles is seen in a publicity photograph taken on Sept. 1, 1962, days ahead of the first-ever broadcast of Take 30 on CBC-TV. (CBC Still Photo Collection)

Tributes and condolences are being shared across social media timelines over the passing of Soles. 

"He did comedy and drama work with equal aplomb, and verbal and visual comedy with great dexterity," says TV columnist Bill Brioux in a tribute column to Soles. 

Other actors and hosts reminisced about working with Soles. 

Soles also portrayed Hermey the Elf in the 1964 television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and voiced several other Marvel superheroes in 1966 including Bruce Banner and Rick Jones.

Soles appeared in three world and four Canadian stage premieres, including on Broadway in Macbeth with Christopher Plummer and Glenda Jackson, and was part of the original cast of the musical Ragtime when it played Toronto before it hit Broadway in 1998.

Soles is survived by his sister Ruth-Ellen, his wife Jean, his son Jonathan and their family.

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