Gleason as Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club (1985)
|Born||Paul Xavier Gleason
May 4, 1939
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||May 27, 2006
Burbank, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Lung Cancer (Mesothelioma)|
(m. 1971-1978; divorced)
(m. 1995-2006; his death)
Paul Xavier Gleason (May 4, 1939 – May 27, 2006) was an American film and television actor, known for his roles on television series such as All My Children and films such as The Breakfast Club, Trading Places, and Die Hard.
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, Florida. At age 16, he ran away from home and hitchhiked across the east coast, sleeping on beaches and playing baseball. He attended North Miami Beach 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 between 1959 and 1960.
During that last season, a west coast trip led to an introduction to sitcom icon Ozzie Nelson, which, in turn, led to an appearance on Ozzie and Harriet (as per Nelson's habit of hiring athletes for guest spots on the show). Suddenly, acting was an option, and an increasingly attractive one, given Gleason's stillborn baseball career. He moved to New York City, eventually joining The Actors Studio, where he would study for four years before moving 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 guest-starred in "The Trouble with Harry" and "Fire", two episodes of The A-Team. Gleason was known to Star Wars fans for his role as Jeremitt Towani in the 1985 made-for-TV film Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. He played the villainous Clarence Beeks, the Duke 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 is perhaps best remembered for his role as Richard Vernon, the gruff disciplinarian in the seminal 1985 film The Breakfast Club. He played similar characters several times, including on the television situation comedy Boy Meets World, in the films Johnny Be Good and Not Another Teen Movie, and in an A-Teens music video.
He appeared as a nonsensical judge in an episode of Drake and Josh. He also appeared in an episode of George Lopez as the brother of George's boss, 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 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 pleural 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. Gleason was 67 years old. He was buried near the southeast corner of the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles.
Film and television credits
||This article is incomplete. (August 2011)|
|1962||Panic in Year Zero!||Gas Station Owner||Acting and Film Debut; Uncredited|
|1965||Winter A-Go-Go||Ski Resort Guest|
|1967||Man||Television Debut; One Episode|
|The Green Hornet||Paul Garrett||Television; One Episode|
|C'mon, Let's Live a Little||Frat Boy||Uncredited|
|The Invaders||Alien||Television; One Episode|
|1968||The F.B.I.||Officer Dan Ryan||Television; One Episode|
|1969||Then Came Bronson||Deputy||Television; One Episode|
|1971||Private Duty Nurses||Dr. McClintock|
|Adam-12||Smitty||Television; One Episode|
|1972||Where Does It Hurt?||Role Unspecified|
|Mission: Impossible||Blair||Television; One Episode|
|Banacek||Border Guard||Television; One Episode|
|Adam-12||Patrolman Arnold||Television; One Episode|
|Adam-12||Instructor Chuck Williams||Television One Episode|
|1973||Little Laura and Big John||Sheriff|
|1974||Adam-12||John Suntor||Television; One Episode; As Paul Xavier Gleason|
|1975||Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze||Maj. Thomas J. "Long Tom" Roberts|
|Columbo||Parsons||Television; One Episode|
|1976||Vigilante Force||Michael J. Loonius||As Paul X Gleason|
|1976-78||All My Children||Dr. David Thornton||Television|
|1979||Women at West Point||Major James T. Kirk||TV Movie|
|Ike||Capt. Ernest "Tex" Lee||Television Miniseries|
|The Great Santini||Lt. Sammy|
|1980||Ike: The War Years||Capt. Ernest "Tex" Lee||TV Movie|
|He Knows You're Alone||Det. Frank Daley|
|1981||Fort Apache the Bronx||Detective|
|The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper||Remson|
|Another Life||Lee Carothers #1||Television|
|1982||MysteryDisc: Murder, Anyone?||Stewart Cavanaugh||Direct-to-Video Film|
|1983||MysteryDisc: Many Roads to Murder||Direct-to-Video Film|
|Trading Places||Clarence Beeks|
|1984||The A-Team||Roy Kelsey|
|Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Edson Ballon||Television; One Episode|
|Remington Steele||Sheriff Jeff 'Jed' Nebbins||Television; One Episode|
|Cagney & Lacey||Detective Crespi||Television; One Episode|
|Call to Glory||Marty Colby||Television; One Episode|
|Hardcastle and McCormick||Jack Fish||Television; One Episode|
|Riptide||Detective Commander Phillip Hallins Everitt||Television; Two Episodes|
|Hill Street Blues||Biff Lowe||Television; Two Episodes|
|Magnum, P.I.||Ronnie Meeder AKA Jacques Arnot||Television; One Episode|
|1985||Doubletake||Howie Henley||TV Movie|
|The Breakfast Club||Principal Richard Vernon|
|Challenge of a Lifetime||John Schoonover||TV Movie|
|Dallas||Lt. Lee Spaulding||Television; Three Episodes|
|Anything for Love||Larry Worth||TV Movie|
|Ewoks: The Battle for Endor||Jeremitt||TV Movie|
|Kate & Allie||Tom Fitzgerald||Television; One Episode|
|The A-Team||Harry Sullivan||Television; One Episode|
|Miami Vice||Bunny Berrigan||Television; One Episode|
|Gimme a Break!||Mr. Kimball||Television; One Episode|
|The Equalizer||Greenleaf||Television; One Episode|
|Beauty and the Beast||Henry Dutton||Television; One Episode|
|Falcon Crest||Andy Stryker||Television; One Episode|
|Sidekicks||Fargo||Television; One Episode|
|Morgan Stewart's Coming Home||Jay Le Soto|
|1988||Die Hard||Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T Robinson|
|Johnny Be Good||Wayne Hisler|
|She's Having a Baby||Howard|
|1989||21 Jump Street||Phil Daniels||Television; One Episode|
|1990||Miami Blues||Sgt. Frank Lackley|
|1991||Rich Girl||Marvin Wells|
|1994||I Love Trouble||Kenny Bacon|
|Seinfeld||Cushman||Television; One Episode|
|1994-1996||One West Waikiki||recurring role|
|1997||Money Talks||Lt. Bobby Pickett|
|1997||NewsRadio||Steve Johnson||Television; One Episode (4x03, The Public Domain)|
|1997||Boy Meets World||Dean Borak||Television; Two Episodes|
|1999||Nash Bridges||Micky Tripp (Radio DJ)||Television; One Episode (4x10, Hardball)|
|2001||Not Another Teen Movie||Principal Richard "Dick" Vernon|
|2002||National Lampoon's Van Wilder||Professor McDougal|
|2006||Drake and Josh||Mr. Thompson|
- "Paul Gleason Biography (1939-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
Full name, Paul Xavier Gleason; born May 4, 1939, in Jersey City, NJ; died May 27, 2006, in Burbank, CA; son of George L. (a professional boxer, iron worker, restaurateur, and roofing manufacturer) and Eleanor (a registered nurse;maiden name, Doyle) Gleason; married Candy Moore, March 15, 1971 (divorced, 1978); married Joanna Hall (an actress; divorced); children: (first marriage)Shannon, Kaitlin; (second marriage) one son.
- "Paul Gleason". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 30 May 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
Paul Gleason, who died on Saturday aged 67, was an actor best known for his roles as a corrupt FBI agent in the comedy Trading Places, as a bumptious high school principal in the "brat pack" movie The Breakfast Club and as a pompous police chief in the action picture Die Hard. Although he trained as an actor with Lee Strasberg, the father of the Method school, most of Gleason's roles were in such lightweight fare. He was a fixture on the American soap opera All My Children, and popped up regularly on popular comedies such as Malcolm in the Middle, Friends and Seinfeld. Gleason's forte was playing pompous authority figures, usually those who insist on a course of action later proved spectacularly wrong-headed.
- "Paul Gleason Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
- Anderson, Jack E. (10 September 1976). "One Of 'Children' Takes Off". The St. Petersburg Evening Independent (Miami: Knight Newspapers). p. 12-B. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
At least one of “All My Children,” the much followed ABC soap opera, drifted away from the dramatic fold last week. Paul Gleason, who plays the embittered and introspective David Thronton on the series, stole away for a long delayed holiday in Miami Beach. It was also a homecoming for Paul because he was born and reared in North Miami Beach — and an actor can emote just so long in a role as demanding as Thornton’s before he has to take a break. “I thought it would be good for me to lie in the sun and see my family.” As AMC fans know, Thornton has been through the mill lately. It’s not bad enough he’s haunted by his experiences as a doctor in Vietnam where his brother died on the operating table because there were not enough medical supplies, but now he has fallen in love wilth[sic] a married woman, Ruth what’s-her-name (Mary Fickett), the only character in the story who knows Thornton, working as a medical aide in Pinewood hospital, was once a doctor. That kind of complication (puff, puff) can get on an actor’s nerves.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 278. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- Woods, Sherri (29 November 1975). "Paul Gleason: Miamian Stars as Soaps' Newest Angry Young Man". The Miami News. p. 15. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
Voisin, Scott, "Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting." BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59393-342-5.