Paul Gleason, veteran character actor who appeared in scores of films and television shows, died Saturday in a Burbank, California, hospital of lung cancer. He was 67.
Gleason is best remembered as the tough-talking high school principal in the 1985 teen drama The Breakfast Club. His reading of the line "Mess with the bull, you get the horns" gave him a permanent place in pop culture history.
His career began in the '60s, with appearances on Green Hornet and The FBI. He enjoyed a long and varied career, appearing in such TV shows as Mission: Impossible, Adam-12, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Columbo, Hardcastle and McCormick, Magnum P.I., Seinfeld, and Friends. He had a recurring role from 1976 to 1978 on the daytime soap All My Children.
His film credits include Arthur, Trading Places, The Great Santini, and National Lampoon's Van Wilder. In 1988's Die Hard, Gleason had another memorable role as Los Angeles deputy chief of police Dwayne T. Robinson.
Before becoming an actor, Gleason played Triple-A baseball for several minor league teams. Recently he had published a book of poetry. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a granddaughter.
Gleason died of a rare form of lung cancer called mesothelioma, which has been linked to asbestos inhalation. To learn more, check out the American Lung Association's Web site.