Actor Ed Lauter dies at 74

Veteran character actor Ed Lauter’s long, angular face and stern bearing made him an instantly recognizable figure in scores of movies and TV shows.
His career stretched across five decades. He was 74.
Lauter’s publicist (Edward Lozzi) says the actor died Wednesday of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure.

Actor Ed Lauter dies at 74

Ed Lauter.

Ed Lauter, 74, a character actor who carved out a niche in the 1970′s playing mostly heavies in movies and TV and kept up a busy schedule in recent years with appearances in Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble With the Curve” and Oscar winner “The Artist,” died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles of mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects tissue surrounding internal organs. Family spokesman Edward Lozzi announced his death.
“A lot of people say, ‘I know you,’ but they don’t know my name” – Lauter told The Times in 2012. “But I’ve had a great run.”
The 6-foot-2, balding actor had memorable roles in “Family Plot” – which was Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, in 1976 – along with “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Seabiscuit,” “Breakheart Pass,” “Death Wish 3,” “French Connection II” and “The Longest Yard,” both the 1974 version and the 2005 remake about a football game pitting inmates against prison guards.

A native of Long Beach, N.Y., Lauter made his TV debut on a 1971 episode of Mannix and arrived on the big screen for the first time in the Western Dirty Little Billy (1972). One of those character actors whose name is unknown but is instantly recognizable, he is listed with an incredible 204 credits as an actor on IMDb.
In Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, Family Plot (1976), the balding, angular Lauter played Maloney, the dangerous, blue-collar man who knows too much about dapper jewel thief and kidnapper Arthur Adamson (William Devane). Hitchcock cast Lauter after seeing him play Captain Wilhelm Knauer, the sadistic leader of the guards who go up against Burt Reynolds’ convict football team, in the classic The Longest Yard (1974).
“Hitchcock came out of his screening room, walked back into the office and said, ‘He’s very good, isn’t he?’” Lauter recalled in a 2003 interview. “(His assistant Peggy Anderson), thinking that he meant Burt Reynolds, said, ‘Yes, he is.’ ”
“Hitchcock said: ‘What’s his name again?’ Now, Peggy’s lost; he doesn’t know who Burt Reynolds is? Then, Hitchcock said, ‘Ed something …’ and when Peggy told him, ‘Ed Lauter,’ he said: ‘Yes, we’ve got our Maloney.’ He had actually told Peggy that he wasn’t going to do the film unless he first cast Maloney, the antagonist.”

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