The actor, who played Principal Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club in 1985, passed away in a Burbank, California, hospital on Saturday of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos.
His widow Susan Gleason says, "Whenever you were with Paul, there was never a dull moment. He was awesome."
His daughter Shannon Gleason-Grossman adds, "He was an athlete, an actor and a poet. He gave me and my sister a love that is beyond description that will be with us and keep us strong for the rest of our lives."
The Florida-born actor started his acting career playing a ski resort guest in 1965 movie Winter A-Go-Go after training at the Actors Studio.
He also appeared in TV shows Friends, Dawson's Creek, Cold Case, Seinfeld, L.A. Law and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
Gleason is survived by his wife, two daughters and a granddaughter.