Paul SolesPaul Robert Soles, actor, television host (b at Toronto 11 August 1930). Paul Soles was brought up in downtown Toronto during the Depression, studied fine arts at the University of Western Ontario and began his career in radio while in his early twenties. One of his first assignments was to report on the inaugural season of the STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL in 1953. That year he got his start in television as host and producer of variety, news and current affairs programs for London, Ont's first television station, CFPL-TV.
Paul Soles was one of the original hosts of the CBC's popular TV program "Take 30," which went on the air in 1962. Designed to be a "women's show," the daytime series evolved into a showcase for serious journalism, airing documentary reports and interviews on social and cultural topics. Soles shared the hosting duties until he left the show in 1978.
He voiced one of his most enduring projects, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," an animated stop-motion holiday special made in 1964 (his is the voice of Hermey, a misfit elf who wants to be a dentist), which was shot in Toronto and is still aired at Christmastime. Soles' cousin, producer Bernard "Bunny" Cowan, put together a small stock company of Canadian actors to voice American animated series on the cheap. These included "The Hulk" (1966) with Soles as the voice of the Hulk's alter-ego Bruce Banner, and "Spider-Man" (1967-70). Soles was the voice of Peter Parker, his alter-ego Spider-Man and several villains. Despite its low-budget and crude animation, the "Spider-Man" series attracted a cult following and was re-released on DVD when the second Spider-Man movie starring Toby Maguire was released theatrically in 2004.
On stage he starred in the Young People's Theatre production of The Diary of Anne Frank with Eli Wallach and Kate REID in 1977. In 1986, he was in a touring production of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs, and in 1987 he appeared at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in I'm Not Rappaport. In 1988, he appeared 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 prior to its short Broadway engagement in 1998. In 2001, he was Shylock in The Merchant of Venice at Stratford, replacing Al WAXMAN in the role when Waxman passed away earlier that year.
In film, he appeared in Ticket to Heaven (1981), Doug Henning's The Magic Show (1983), The Last Straw (1987), Falling over Backwards (1990, earning a GENIE Award nomination for best supporting actor), the Oscar-nominated documentary Colours of My Father: A Portrait of Sam Borenstein (voice, 1992), The Lotus Eaters (1993), The Five Senses (1999), Marlon Brando's last film The Score (2001) and Siblings (2004).
For radio, he voiced 30 episodes of "Scales of Justice," 5 episodes of "Vanishing Point" and several "Morningside" dramas.
In television, Paul Soles appeared on the original "Wayne and Shuster Comedy Hour," which began broadcasting in 1954, and "This Is the Law" (1971), an anthology series with Soles secretly breaking an obscure Canadian law and a panel composed of television personalities humorously guessing which one. Soles narrated the animated series "The Wonderful Stories of Professor Kitzel" (1972) and appeared in Joe FLAHERTY's "Really Weird Tales" (1987), in the made-for-television drama Family Reunion (1988), in the popular children's drama Beethoven Lives Upstairs (1992), and in the series "Riverdale" (1997), "Terminal City" (2005, winning a GEMINI Award for best performance by an actor in a featured supporting role, dramatic series) and "The Jane Show" (2006, for which he received a Gemini nomination for best performance by an actor in a guest role, dramatic series).
For decades Paul Soles has been a fixture in Canadian theatre, radio, television and film, where his face and voice have become instantly recognizable.