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Character Actor Ed Lauter Dies
After five decades of character acting, Ed Lauter has finally bid adieu. He died Wednesday at the age of 74 from mesothelioma, a rare cancer usually cased by asbestos, as his publicist, Edward Lozzi, explained.
Though his life may have been cut shorter than it would have been, he nevertheless used his life to enrich endless shows and movies with his striking roles, many of which he learned from observing his neighbors growing up in Long Beach, N.Y. Some of his roles include the vicious prison guard from “the Longest Yard,” and the questionable gas station attendant in Hitchcock’s last film, “The Family Plot.”
Usually playing a marked villain, or an ominous figure, he characterized his own type of character as the “turn” actor, which, as he explained to Cinema Shock magazine, is the character who signals a sudden turn in the plot.
He laughed at the mixed recognition he would get, as the Associated Press reported: “Sometimes people don’t know my name. They’ll say, ‘Oh, yeah! There’s that guy! You were in … you were in …”
Well he was in a lot of things, from “Murder, She Wrote,” to “The Office,” to “ER,” to an array of movies such as “Death Wish 3,” “Trouble With the Curve” with Clint Eastwood,” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” with Tom Cruise” — but he said his favorite role was in “The Longest Yard.”
Working till the end, some of his movies are still in production and yet to be released. His wife and four children survive him.