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Paul Gleason

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Paul Gleason
Gleason in 1984
Paul Xavier Gleason

(1939-05-04)May 4, 1939
DiedMay 27, 2006(2006-05-27) (aged 67)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Years active1965–2006
(m. 1971; div. 1978)
Susan Kehl
(m. 1995)

Paul Xavier Gleason (May 4, 1939 – May 27, 2006) was an American film and television actor. He was known for his roles on television series such as All My Children and films such as The Breakfast Club, Trading Places, and Die Hard.

Early life[edit]

Gleason was born on May 4, 1939, in Jersey City, New Jersey,[2] the son of Eleanor (née Doyle), a registered nurse, and George L. Gleason, a restaurateur, professional boxer, iron worker, and roofing manufacturer.[1] Gleason was raised in Miami Beach, Florida. At age 16, he ran away from home and hitchhiked across the east coast, sleeping on beaches and playing baseball.[3] He attended North Miami High School and Florida State University, where he played football with Burt Reynolds.[4] He signed a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians, but played just briefly in two minor league seasons between 1959 and 1960.[5]

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 (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 failing baseball career. He moved to New York City, eventually joining The Actors Studio,[6][7] where he would study for four years before moving to Los Angeles.[8]


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 then portrayed Capt. Ernest "Tex" Lee in the 1979 television miniseries Ike. 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' security consultant, in the 1983 comedy Trading Places starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

Gleason played Richard Vernon, the disciplinarian high school vice principal, in the 1985 film The Breakfast Club. He played similar characters in the 1988 film Johnny Be Good (as a high school football coach), the 2002 film Van Wilder (as an antagonistic professor), and on several episodes of the TV sitcom Boy Meets World (as a university dean). He directly parodied his Breakfast Club role in the 2000 A-Teens music video for "Dancing Queen" and in the 2001 comedy film Not Another Teen Movie. He also played Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson in the 1988 Bruce Willis action film, Die Hard.

In 2002, Gleason appeared in episodes of Dawson's Creek as Larry Newman, the sex-and-violence obsessed chief of a B movie studio. He appeared as a nonsensical judge in an episode of Drake & Josh, as well as in an episode of George Lopez as the brother of George's boss, a crazy old drunk. In 2005, he appeared as the Sheriff in the horror film Abominable. His final appearance before his death was in an independent film called The Book of Caleb.

Gleason made a guest appearance on Friends as Jack, Phoebe's boss at an investment company, in the season 6 episode "The One That Could Have Been," and also appeared in one episode of Seinfeld, as the man ultimately responsible for George Costanza being hired by the New York Yankees.

Personal life[edit]

Gleason, in addition to his acting career, participated in many celebrity charity golf events each year, and was known to mingle with fans and sign autographs during these golf tournaments.

From 1971 to 1978, he was married to actress Candy Moore; they had one daughter, Shannon. From 1995 until his death, he was married to Susan Kehl; they had one daughter, Kaitlin.


Gleason died on May 27, 2006, at a Burbank, California, hospital from pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung 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.[3] He is buried near the southeast corner of the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles.


Year Title Role Notes
1962 Panic in Year Zero! Gas Station Owner Uncredited, Acting and Film Debut
1965 Winter A-Go-Go Ski Resort Guest
1967 It's About Time 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 (Episodes: The Experiment and Task Force) Television; Two Episodes
1968 The F.B.I. Officer Dan Ryan Television; One Episode
The Secret War of Harry Frigg Prisoner Uncredited
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? Mr. Leffingwell's Aide Role Unspecified
Mission: Impossible Blair Television; One Episode
Banacek Border Guard Television; One Episode
Adam-12 Patrolman Arnold Television; One Episode
Hit Man Cop Uncredited
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; aka Ike: The War Years
The Great Santini Lt. Sammy
1980 He Knows You're Alone Det. Frank Daley
1981 Fort Apache the Bronx Detective
Another Life Lee Carothers #1 Television
Arthur Executive
The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper Remson
1982 MysteryDisc: Murder, Anyone? Stewart Cavanaugh Interactive Direct-to-video film
1983 Tender Mercies Reporter
Trading Places Clarence Beeks
MysteryDisc: Many Roads to Murder Interactive Direct-to-video film
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 The Breakfast Club Asst. 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
Doubletake Howie Henley TV movie
Ewoks: The Battle for Endor Jeremitt TV movie
1986 Kate & Allie Tom Fitzgerald Television; One Episode
The A-Team Harry Sullivan Television; One Episode
Miami Vice Bunny Berrigan Television; One Episode
The Equalizer Greenleaf Television; One Episode
Gimme a Break! Mr. Kimball Television; One Episode
Superior Court Attorney Television
1987 Morgan Stewart's Coming Home Jay Le Soto
Sidekicks Fargo Television; One Episode
Falcon Crest Andy Stryker Television; One Episode
Forever, Lulu Robert
Hollywood-Monster Stan Gordon
Beauty and the Beast Henry Dutton Television; One Episode
1988 She's Having a Baby Howard
Johnny Be Good Wayne Hisler
Die Hard Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
Lifted Supercarrier Pilot Movie Commanding Officer U.S.S Georgetown
1989 Nightmare Beach
Night Game Broussard
21 Jump Street Phil Daniels Television; One Episode
1990 Miami Blues Sgt. Frank Lackley
1991 Rich Girl Marvin Wells
L.A. Law Coach John Lungren Television; One Episode (5x19; "Speak, Lawyers, for Me")
False Arrest Arthur Ross TV movie
1992 Wishman Silverstein
The Wonder Years Arthur Jensen Television; One Episode (6x03; "Scenes from a Wedding")
1993 Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence Hank Cooney
Loaded Weapon 1 FBI Agent
Wild Cactus Sheriff Brenner
Boiling Point Transaction Man
Running Cool Calvin Hogg
1994 Seinfeld Cushman Television; One Episode: (5x22, "The Opposite")
I Love Trouble Kenny Bacon
Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Henry Harrison Television; One Episode: (1x16, "The Ides of Metropolis")
There Goes My Baby Mr. Burton
Nothing to Lose Elliot
In the Living Years Tony
1994-1996 One West Waikiki Captain Dave Herzog recurring role
1995 Digital Man Dr. Parker
1997 Shadow Conspiracy Blythe
Money Talks Detective Bobby Pickett
Walker, Texas Ranger Dr. Harold Payton Television; One Episode (5x08, "Brainchild")
Boy Meets World Dean Borak Television; Two Episodes
NewsRadio Steve Johnson Television; One Episode (4x03, "The Public Domain")
A Time to Revenge Whittmar
1998 Day at the Beach Detective Johnson
No Code of Conduct John Bagwell
1999 Nash Bridges Micky Tripp (Radio DJ) Television; One Episode (4x10, "Hardball")
A*teens Asst. Principal Richard Vernon Music video, Dancing Queen
2000 The Giving Tree Mr. Forrester
Red Letters Dean Van Buren
Friends Jack Television; One Episode (6x16, "The One That Could Have Been")
2001 Not Another Teen Movie Principal Richard "Dick" Vernon
The Organization Death
The Myersons Dean Hanson
Social Misfits Warden Doyle
2002 National Lampoon's Van Wilder Professor McDougal
2003 Dawson's Creek Larry Newman Television; Two Episodes
2004 Drake & Josh Mr. Thompson Television; One Episode (2x14, "Honor Council")
2004 Malcolm in the Middle Mystery Man (Gordon Walker) Television; Two Episodes (5x21, 5x22, "Reese Joins the Army: Part 1 & 2")
2005 Abominable Sheriff Halderman
2005 George Lopez Lou Powers Television; One Episode (4x13, "George to the Third Power")
2005 Cold Case Stewart Adams Television; One Episode
2008 The Book of Caleb James Paddington
2011 The Passing Det. Sanders (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Paul Gleason Biography (1939-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Obituary: Paul Gleason, The Telegraph, 30 May 2006. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Paul Gleason". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. May 30, 2006. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  4. ^ "The former tribe: Paul Gleason". The Hardball Times. March 16, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2024.
  5. ^ "Paul Gleason Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  6. ^ Anderson, Jack E. (September 10, 1976). "One Of 'Children' Takes Off". The St. Petersburg Evening Independent. Miami: Knight Newspapers. p. 12-B. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Woods, Sherri (November 29, 1975). "Paul Gleason: Miamian Stars as Soaps' Newest Angry Young Man". The Miami News. p. 15. Retrieved June 15, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Voisin, Scott, "Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting." BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59393-342-5.

External links[edit]