Laurianne's Hope

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Character Actor Paul Gleason Dies From Lung Cancer Related to Abestos

I was really sad to hear that Paul Gleason died of lung cancer this weekend. I didn't know him by name, but I have seen him in many movies. However, I was even more sad, and a little angry, that this was only a top story for such a brief amount of time. Paul Gleason's cancer, being linked to asbestos, might have made someone else who has worked with asbestos get a lung cancer screen and have themselves checked. Sadly, news of the Jolie-Pitt's new addition, or Paris Hilton making a hip-hop/reggae album are more important to the media.

At least the Associated Press said something about Paul Gleason. I didn't even see anything on Reuter's.

Paul Gleason, 67; Grouchy Principal in 'Breakfast Club'

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Gleason, best known for playing the grumpy high school principal who presides over detention in the 1985 film "The Breakfast Club," has died. He was 67.

Gleason died Saturday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos, said his daughter, Shannon Gleason-Grossman.

Although the cancer was diagnosed only a month ago, Gleason's exposure to asbestos occurred while working on construction jobs with his father as a teenager in the 1950s, his daughter said.

In more than 60 films, Gleason usually played detectives or minor authority figures.

He was the detestable Clarence Beeks in "Trading Places" (1983) and the deputy chief of police in "Die Hard" (1988). Among his other film roles were "The Passing" (2005) "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" (2002) and "The Giving Tree" (2000).

On television, Gleason played David Thornton on ABC's "All My Children" in the late 1970s. He also appeared on many prime-time shows, including "Malcolm in the Middle," "Friends" and "Seinfeld."

After he and author Jack Kerouac, a friend, watched the 1961 film "Splendor in the Grass" together, Gleason decided to become an actor. Soon he was studying with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.

On Broadway, he debuted with Maureen Stapleton in Neil Simon's "The Gingerbread Lady" (1971). He also appeared in the revival of "The Front Page" (1972), with John Lithgow and Richard Thomas that was staged in Los Angeles and New York.

Gleason was born May 4, 1939, in Jersey City, N.J., and grew up in Miami. He was an avid athlete and played football at Florida State at the same time Burt Reynolds and Robert Urich were there. He also played Triple-A minor league baseball for a handful of clubs.

"My dad was an intelligent, hard-working Renaissance man," Gleason-Grossman said. "His motto was to always keep working."

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

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

In addition to his daughter Shannon, Gleason is survived by his wife, Susan; another daughter, Kaitlin; and a granddaughter.

Funeral plans were pending.

You probably noticed that Gleason's cancer was only diagnosed a month ago. It just goes to show how quickly lung cancer can spread. With more research and funding to lung cancer, we could find ways to increase life expectancy and possibly even find a more non-evasive way of curing this disease than chemo and radiation.

Fighting lung cancer is an uphill battle. Advocates fight not only the disease, but also the stigma associated with it. I ask that if you take the time to read this blog, share the link with friends and family, add it to your blog links, and help to spread the word. Awareness is the first step towards making a difference.

Lung Cancer AwarenessPosted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 7:20 AM :: 0 people are more aware