At 6'2", with a handsomeness best-termed "rugged," the towering and burly Paul Johansson originally developed his ability in sports -- unsurprising, given his physical stature and the fact that he was the child of hockey demigod Ching Johnson, a key player on the 1954 Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings. Born in Spokane, WA, but raised in the Vancouver area, Johansson landed all-Canadian status as a basketball player for the University of British Columbia, where he was, by his own account, ejected from five games against the University of Saskatchewan for overly aggressive behavior (in 1987). Johansson had his eyes on a stint in the Olympics and full-time work in the NBA (and in fact, the Atlanta Hawks offered him a spot on their team) when he suddenly realized that he no longer cared seriously about a sports career.
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Seeking fulfillment and actualization elsewhere, Johansson planned (with the help of his UBC English degree) to launch himself as a writer, and traveled to Los Angeles with friend Jason Priestley with that goal in mind. Instead, he soon discovered a love of acting, and a recurring role on the soap Santa Barbara (as Greg Hughes) followed. Johansson appeared on the Ferris Bueller-like series Parker Lewis Can't Lose from 1991-1992 (as an impossibly hip counterman) and as Sally Field's husband in the 1991 Soapdish, prior to his portrayal of Austin Peale in the blockbuster Western series Lonesome Dove (1994-1995) and its follow-up, Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years (1995-1996).
Alongside on-camera appearances in such projects as Highlander: The Raven (1998), Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies (1999), and John Q. (2002), Johansson moved quietly into writing and directing, first with the 1997 short film Conversations in Limbo (based on an Oscar Wilde story), then with the direct-to-video coming-of-age picture The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie, co-starring Gena Rowlands and James Caan. Johansson also starred in the popular teen series drama One Tree Hill, as Dan Scott. He directed and acted in Atlas Shrugged Part 1, a 2011 adaptation of Ayn Rand's 1957 novel of the same name. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi