His name may not be familiar to most, but his face is. Ed Lauter, a recognizable veteran actor who most recently played a butler in the 2011 Oscar-winning film The Artist passed away Wednesday, Oct. 16. According to Lauter’s publicist, he died from mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Lauter had continued to work on acting projects until a few months before his death when his health became too frail. Lauter recently completed several films that have yet to be released. He was 74 years old.
With a long, angular face and a stern demeanor, Lauter performed in a variety of films and television shows during his lifetime. Some of his most notable roles included the 1974 comedy-drama The Longest Yard in which he played a prison guard (Burt Reynolds’s nemesis), and Alfred Hitchcock’s last film, The Family Plot, in which he played a shady gas station attendant.
Other projects he was a part of include Death Wish 3, Trouble with the Curve, Born on the Fourth of July, The New Centurions, My Blue Heaven, and many more. On the television side, Lauter appeared on The Office, ER, Murder, She Wrote and The Rockford Files.
In a 2010 interview with Cinema Shock magazine, Lauter laughed at how he was someone frequently recognized in the public for his roles.
“But sometimes people don’t know my name,” he said in the interview. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, yeah! There’s that guy! You were in…you were in… .”
As a firm working with families impacted by mesothelioma on a daily basis, our condolences go out to his family and those battling the cancer.
You can read more about Lauter, his acting career and his death in this USA Today article now.