Paul Haddad, The Very First Leon Kennedy, Has Passed Away
The voice actor who played Leon Kennedy in the original 1998 Resident Evil 2 has died.
Paul Haddad, the voice actor who brought Leon Kennedy to life in 1998's Resident Evil 2, has died. The actor, aged 56, had recently posted a GoFundMe for a neurosurgery procedure, and is understood to have been ill for some time.
Haddad, a resident of Toronto, Canada, and a regular stage performer, had only credits on two other games--Hype: The Time Quest (1999) and retro throwback Daymare: 1998 (2019). The news of his passing came via the Twitter account of Invader Studios, the developer of Daymare.
Paul Haddad, our dear friend and an icon among the RE community, has passed away recently. We've been truly honored to have the chance to meet and work with such a great man and a brilliant professional that He was.— Invader Studios™ (@InvaderDevs) April 17, 2020
Rest in Peace Paul... You will live forever in our hearts. pic.twitter.com/o6gkMqX7SI
In a way, this makes his performance as Leon Kennedy all the more significant--he played a lead role in one of the most important horror games ever made despite his relative obscurity, and his voice has been heard by millions of players.
Haddad never played Kennedy again after this first appearance. In later games he was voiced by Paul Mercer, Christian Lanz, Matthew Mercer, and eventually Nick Apostolides in the Resident Evil 2 Remake. In fact, Resident Evil 2 had a whole new cast due to the SAG strike in effect during the game's development.
Apostolides paid tribute to Haddad on Twitter, calling him a "kind soul" and saying that he will "always be our Leon".
Such a kind soul......he will always be our Leon— Nick Apostolides (@Nik_apostolides) April 17, 2020
Our thoughts are with Hadad's friends and family.