Actor Paul Gleason, who played the frustrated principal in “The Breakfast Club” and the bad guy in “Trading Places,” has died. He was 67.
Gleason died at an L.A.-area hospital Saturday of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos, according to his wife, Susan Gleason.
A native of Miami, Gleason was an avid athlete. Before becoming an actor, he played Triple-A minor league baseball for a handful of clubs in the late 1950s.
Gleason honed his acting skills with his mentor Lee Strasberg, with whom he studied at the Actors Studio beginning in the mid-1960s, family members said.
Through his career, Gleason appeared in over 60 movies, including “Die Hard,” “Johnny Be Good” and “National Lampoon’s Van Wilder.” Most recently, Gleason made a handful of television appearances in hit shows such as “Friends” and “Seinfeld.”
Gleason’s passions went beyond acting. He had recently published a book of poetry.
Gleason is survived by his wife, two daughters and a granddaughter. Funeral plans were pending.