Paulin was born to parents who later divorced. His mother married actor Wendell K. Phillips. His mother-in-law, Jean Shelton, ran an acting school in San Francisco, where she later introduced him to his future wife, Wendy Phillips. After marrying Phillips, Paulin had a daughter, Virginia Dare Paulin. Paulin and Phillips later played husband and wife on the mini-series A Year in the Life during the 1980's. Paulin currently teaches at the 2nd Story Theatre in Culver City.
Paulin as The Red Skull in Captain America.
Paulin's major acting career began in 1979 with a role in Vampire. For the next few years, he acted in several films and TV series, including The Twilight Zone and St. Elsewhere. He also appeared as the super-villain Red Skill in the 1990 low-budget straight-to-video film Captain America. Paulin has recently appeared on the shows 24, The X-Files, Without a Trace, and CSI.