Paul Dawson (actor)

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Paul Dawson
Paul Dawson in 2015
OccupationActor, DJ, writer
Years active1998–present
Partner(s)PJ DeBoy

Paul Dawson is an American actor, DJ and writer perhaps best known for playing the secretly suicidal former prostitute James,[1][2] one of the principal characters in Shortbus, a 2006 American comedy-drama film written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell.[3][4]



The film Shortbus is noted for its explicit depiction of sexual activity,[3][5] and, though Dawson is featured in one of the film's most graphic scenes, it was his portrayal of depression that garnered the critics' attention.[6] "Dawson's James haunts," said David Ansen of Newsweek, "the bitter taste of his despair feels real;"[7] and a reviewer for TV Guide said that James and Jamie (played by PJ DeBoy) were perhaps the "most adorable gay couple ever."[2]

Other film credits[edit]

In 1999, Dawson played Tar in The Blur of Insanity, an underground comedy written and directed by John Hussar about partying and drug use in college. The following year, he played a bellboy in The Big Kahuna, which starred Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito. Also in 2000, Dawson appeared as the Bloodied Man in Urbania, an independent drama based on the play Urban Folk Tales. Urbania premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and was seen at a number of LGBT film festivals. That same year Dawson played a hustler in "The Mountain King," a short film included in the 2001 LGBT-themed anthology Boys to Men.[8]

Paul Dawson (right) with PJ DeBoy

Television credits[edit]

In 1999, Dawson appeared in the pilot episode of Strangers with Candy, "Old Habits – New Beginnings," and was also featured as "Derek Harland" in the Law & Order episode "Hate".[8]


Dawson is the graphic designer and a disc jockey for international "Mattachine" dance parties, which he co-founded in New York City in 2008.[9]


  1. ^ The Village Voice, "The subversive mainstream friendliness of John Cameron Mitchell's sex-positive cheer (Tuesday, September 26th 2006)
  2. ^ a b TV Guide Review: Shortbus 2006, Movie, NR, 98 mins
  3. ^ a b New York Times movie review: Shortbus (Monday, March 23, 2009)
  4. ^ New York Times article "A Movie Full of Sex, With Nothing Simulated About It" (Thursday, August 19, 2004)
  5. ^ John Cameron Mitchell's Ground-Breaking, Taboo-Busting Second Film" reviewed by Jürgen Fauth
  6. ^ Globe and Mail, "More sentimental than erotic, Shortbus can't take us all the way" (06/10/06)
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ a b IMDb: Paul Dawson
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]