Character actor Paul Gleason was adept at playing tough guys and white collar sleazebags, making his film debut in Winter A-Go-Go (1965). He made a name for himself portraying these unlikeable characters. A native of Jersey City, New Jersey, Gleason studied extensively at the Actor’s Studio in New York City in the mid-60s with Lee Strasberg (his mentor) and was seen in a handful of Roger Corman productions before landing a a three-year role on the TV soap opera All My Children (1970). He appeared in over 60 films, with key roles in Trading Places (1983), Die Hard (1988), Miami Blues (1990), Boiling Point (1993) and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002). However, he is perhaps best remembered for his role as the no-nonsense principal “Richard Vernon” in The Breakfast Club (1985). He also guest-starred in numerous television series, including Hill Street Blues (1981), Dawson’s Creek (1998) and Friends (1994). Gleason passed away of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer at a Burbank, California hospital on May 29th 2006 at the age of 67.
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