'The Artist' Actor Ed Lauter Dies at 74
Character actor Ed Lauter, whose career in movies and TV spanned five decades, died yesterday, Wednesday October 16th at the age of 74. According to his publicist, Edward Lozzi, the actor died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure.
Son of Sally Lee, a Broadway actress and dancer in the 1920s, Lauter was related to stage actress Elaine Stritch. He starred with Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, Karen Black and William Devane in the final film of director Alfred Hitchcock, Family Plot.
Hitchcock was so impressed by Lauter he asked him to play a major role in the romantic espionage thriller he planned as his next film. However the director's failing health and eventual death in 1980 meant that The Short Night never went into production.
Lauter's TV appearances included the role as the villain sheriff Martin Stillman in the How the West Was Won (1978 TV-series) and guest-performances on Psych, The X-Files, Kojak, The A-Team, Booker, Charmed, Highlander: The Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (as Lt. Cmdr. Albert in the season 5 episode "The First Duty"), The Equalizer and ER (with a recurring role as Fire Captain Dannaker).
On film, he appeared opposite Burt Reynolds in the 1974 comedy-drama The Longest Yard and Death Wish 3, in which he portrayed a cop who partners with Charles Bronson's character. Most recently he starred as a butler in the 2011 Oscar-winning film The Artist.