As was often the case with character actors who became closely identified with a type of role, actor Paul Gleason was far from the pompous, humor-deficient bullies he so convincingly portrayed in film and on television. At one time a promising athlete, he gained his theatrical training with famed acting coach Lee Strasberg while performing on the stages of New York. After more than 15 years of working steadily with small parts on television series and in movies, Gleason made a lasting impression as slimy "fixer" Clarence Beeks in the comedy "Trading Places" (1983). Two years later, he topped that villainous performance with his turn as the iron-fisted, utterly clueless and ultimately ineffectual Principal Vernon in the John Hughes classic "The Breakfast Club" (1985). Although he appeared in dozens of varying roles over the years, it would be Gleason's pitch-perfect portrayals of unrepentant jackasses in films such as the action-thriller "Die Hard" (1988) that would earn him lasting recognition. So ingrained in the pop culture of cinema were his characterizations, that Gleason eventually spoofed his own signature role in the lowbrow parody "Not Another Teen Movie" (2001), when he played a less-than-nurturing principal, coincidently named Vernon. By the time of his premature passing in 2006, Gleason had appeared in approximately 140 productions, and while his most memorable roles may have been as unrepentant jerks, those who knew him described a man with an unwavering work ethic, boundless energy, and a gregarious nature.