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Character actor Ed Lauter passes away

Character actor Ed Lauter passes away

THE American character actor Ed Lauter has passed away at the age of 74.

While most TV and film fans may not have been able to immediately name Mr. Lauter, they would have recognised his face. During his long career the actor had appeared in more than 200 films and TV episodes.

He had first embarked on a career as a stand up comedian in the 1960s before turning to acting and making his stage debut on Broadway in 1968 in a production of The Great White Hope which starred James Earl Jones.

His TV debut followed in 1971 with a part in an episode of the private detective series Mannix to be followed in the following year with his first movie credit in the western Dirty Little Billy.

Mr. Lauter’s first big film role came in The Longest Yard (1974) in which he played a sadistic prison guard whose American football team takes on a team of misfits led by inmate Burt Reynolds. Both actors appeared in the 2005 remake of the movie.

It was his performance in the original movie which caught the eye of Alfred Hitchcock who cast him as the character Maloney in what was to be the director’s final film Family Plot (1976).

The actor’s other movie credits included French Connection II (1975), Death Wish 3 (1985), Leaving Vegas (1995), Seabiscuit (2003) and The Number 23 (2007). 

His recent films included the Oscar-winning The Artist (2011), in which he played the chauffeur of Berenice Bejo’s character (see below). He also starred alongside Clint Eastwood in the baseball movie Trouble With The Curve (2012).

At the time of his death he had completed filming in several movies which are still in post production. His TV credits included many of the most popular shows of the past 40 years, including Cannon, Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, Miami Vice, NYPD Blue and CSI.

Mr. Lauter had been told in May that he was suffering from mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer which is commonly caused by astestos exposure. He is survived by his wife Mia and four children.

The family say they will establish a charitable foundation in Mr. Lauter’s name which will award an annual scholarship to aspiring young actors.

To view an excerpt from The Artist which features Mr. Lauter, click here.

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