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Breakfast Club’s Paul Gleason Dies

May 29, 2006

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) _ Paul Gleason, who was in ``Trading Places″ and ``The Breakfast Club,″ has died. He was 67.

Gleason died at a local hospital Saturday of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos, said his wife, Susan Gleason.

``Whenever you were with Paul, there was never a dull moment,″ his wife said. ``He was awesome.″

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, whom he studied with at the Actors Studio beginning in the mid-1960s, family members said.

Through his career, Gleason appeared in over 60 movies that included ``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.

``He was an athlete, an actor and a poet,″ said his daughter, Shannon Gleason-Grossman. ``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.″

Actor Jimmy Hawkins, a friend of Gleason’s since the 1960s, said he remembered Gleason for a sharp sense of humor.

``He just always had great stories to tell,″ Hawkins said.

Gleason was survived by his wife, two daughters and a granddaughter. Funeral plans were pending.

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