Paul Xavier Gleason (May 4, 1939 – May 27, 2006) was an American film and television actor.
Gleason was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Eleanor (née Doyle), a registered nurse, and George L. Gleason, a restaurateur, professional boxer, iron worker, and roofing manufacturer. Gleason was raised in Uleta, however the city is no longer standing today. At the age of 16, he ran away from home and hitchhiked across the east coast, sleeping on beaches and playing baseball. He attended North Miami High School and Florida State University where he played football. He signed a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians, but played just briefly in two minor league seasons. Gleason later moved to New York City and eventually, moved again to Los Angeles.
Gleason starred in many movies, and became well-known initially as Dr. David Thornton on All My Children, playing the role from 1976 to 1978. He is perhaps best remembered for his role as Richard Vernon, the gruff disciplinarian in the seminal 1985 movie The Breakfast Club. He guest-starred in 2 of The A-Team episodes, titled "The Trouble with Harry," and "Fire." He reprised versions of that character several times, including in an A*Teens music video, on the television show Boy Meets World (although he was a dean on BMW) and in the films Johnny Be Good and Not Another Teen Movie. Gleason, who kept the suit he wore in "The Breakfast Club" after filming wrapped up, donned it again for the role in "Not Another Teen Movie." As a bookend to his modern fame as strict disciplinarian, Gleason played a tough yet forgiving and nurturing professor - that of Professor McDoogle - to the lead character in Van Wilder.
Gleason was known to Star Wars fans for his role as Jeremitt Towani in the 1985 made-for-TV film The Battle for Endor. He played the villainous Clarence Beeks, the Dukes brothers' inside trader, in the 1983 comedy Trading Places starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. He also played Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T Robinson, the blowhard police official in Die Hard.
He appeared in an episode of Drake and Josh, in which Drake goes to a school council to prove himself innocent after being framed. Gleason plays the goofy judge. He also appeared in an episode of George Lopez as George Lopez's boss's brother, a crazy old drunk. His final appearance before his death was in an independent film called The Book of Caleb.
Gleason, in addition to his acting career, participated in many celebrity golf events each year, and was known by autograph hunting experts to mingle with fans and sign autographs during these golf tournaments. He was married to Susan Kehl and is survived by his wife, two daughters, Shannon and Kaitlin, and one granddaughter, Sofia.
Gleason died on May 27, 2006 at a Burbank, California hospital from mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer connected with asbestos, which he is thought to have contracted from asbestos exposure on building sites while working for his father as a teenager. He was 67 years old. Gleason is buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.
1.^ Paul Gleason Biography (1939-)
2.^ Paul Gleason - Telegraph