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Ed Lauter Dies

October 18, 2013 by  

Ed Lauter Dies, Ed Lauter, a character actor whose long, angular face and stern bearing in scores of roles made him an instantly recognizable figure in movies and on television for five decades, died on Wednesday at his home in West Hollywood, Calif. He was 74.

Ed Lauter said that many of the characters he played were inspired by people he had grown up observing.

The cause was mesothelioma, a form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure, his publicist, Edward Lozzi, said.

Menacing characters were his forte. He was the brutal prison guard and Burt Reynolds’s nemesis in the 1974 comedy-drama “The Longest Yard” and the sleazy gas station attendant in Alfred Hitchcock’s last film, “Family Plot” (1976). In “Death Wish 3” (1985), he was the violent police officer who teamed up with Charles Bronson’s vigilante to rid New York City’s streets of criminals by killing them.

More recently he was the butler to the ingénue played by Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist,” which won the Oscar for best film in 2012.

His numerous other movies included Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July,” with Tom Cruise; “The New Centurions,” with George C. Scott; and the comedies “My Blue Heaven,” “Revenge of the Nerds II” and “Not Another Teen Movie.” His television credits included “The Office,” “ER,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “The Rockford Files.”

Mr. Lauter described himself in a 2010 interview with Cinema Shock magazine as a “turn” actor, someone who shows up in a film and turns the plot in a different direction.

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