Paul Gross named officer of Order of Canada

Among his many accolades, Paul Gross received the University of Alberta's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002.

(Edmonton) Paul Gross gained fame portraying an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; now, the University of Alberta alumnus has been named an officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to Canadian film and television.

The Calgary-born actor, writer and director, who earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama from the U of A, is among the 74 newest recipients of Canada's highest civilian honour.

After attending the U of A, Gross pursued a career in the theatre, receiving a Dora Award nomination for Best Performance in the title role of Romeo and Juliet(1985) and winning the Dora for his role in the 1988 North American premiere of Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme.

Gross became an icon of Canadian identity after his breakthrough role as Benton Fraser, the Mountie in the TV series Due South, brought him wide recognition in both Canada and the United States. He won two Gemini Awards for Best Actor during the show's four-season run from 1994 to 1999, also serving as executive producer and writer for many episodes. He went on to win two more acting Geminis in 2004 and 2007 for his lead role in the TV series Slings and Arrows.

In addition to being an award-winning actor, he is a musician, a director and a writer-at one time serving as the playwright-in-residence at the Stratford Festival. In 1982, he won a Clifford E. Lee National Playwriting Award for The Deer and the Antelope Play. He has written four plays, all of which have been successfully produced to critical acclaim, and several television and movie screenplays.

In 2002, he made his film directorial debut with Men With Brooms, also serving as co-writer, producer and star. Along with its commercial success as one of the highest-grossing English Canadian movies in decades, the curling-themed film was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award for direction and a Genie Award for its screenplay.

Gross again combined his acting, writing and directing talents for the 2008 film Passchendaele. Inspired by his grandfather's experiences in the First World War and his passion for Canadian history, the film won a Directors Guild of Canada Award and a Genie Award for Best Motion Picture.

In 2009, he won the Governor General National Arts Centre Award for Achievement.

He continues to write, direct and act in film, on television and onstage. His most recent credits include starring in the 2010 film Gunless, co-starring with Kim Cattrall in the Noel Coward play Private Lives in Toronto and Broadway in 2011, and appearing this year in a recurring role in the TV series Republic of Doyle.