Ed Lauter, Character Actor in ‘Leaving Las Vegas,’ ‘Trouble With the Curve,’ Dies at 74

Ed Lauter Obit

Ed Lauter, a gritty but taciturn character actor whose massive list of film and TV credits include “Leaving Las Vegas,” “The Artist” and “Trouble With the Curve,” died at his home in West Hollywood of mesothelioma on Wednesday. He was 74.

The squinty-eyed Lauter, who played a number of sports coaches, military men and sheriffs, had recently played Berenice Bejo’s butler in “The Artist” and a colleague of Clint Eastwood’s in baseball scout pic “Trouble With the Curve.”

The actor will last be seen in the 2014 release “The Town That Dreaded Sundown.”

On television Lauter had a recurring role on “ER” as Fire Captain Dannaker, and he was one of the stars of the 1991 Stephen King miniseries “Golden Years,” in which he played Gen. Louis Crewes.

During the 1970s the actor appeared in films including Robert Benton’s “Bad Company”; “The Last American Hero”; “The Longest Yard”; “King Kong”; “Family Plot,” the last film from Alfred Hitchcock; and perhaps most memorably as Rod Steiger’s crazy rapist son in the hillbilly thriller “Lolly-Madonna XXX.”

In a recent profile of the actor, Film Comment declared, “Lauter’s is the sort of go-to-work-every-day artistry that sits uneasy with the Academy: he makes breathing his trademarked mix of mercenary malice and madman gleam into myriad combustible characters seem as effortless as Satan flicking his tongue.”

Lauter, who began his showbiz career as a standup comedian and was known for his dead-on impersonations of celebrities, earned his first screen credits in the early 1970s guesting on shows such as “Mannix,” “Cannon” and “Ironside.” Over the next several decades he made guest appearances on everything from “The Waltons” to “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The X-Files.”

Lauter is survived by his wife Mia and four children.

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  1. lukas herval says:

    this guy was great. Sorry to see him go. read more about his wife here: http://dailyentertainmentnews.com/breaking-news/marchell-williams-actor-ed-lauters-wife/

  2. Mjkbk says:

    RIP Mr. Lauter. Yours was one of those character faces (along with performances) that stick in the memory, no matter the role.

  3. Jim K says:

    I remember Lauter best as the gritty cop in one of the Death Wish movies. That was the one where Marina Sirtis got her acting chops started. Lauter will be missed.

  4. PETE D EL says:

    He was an awesome actor. He was so believable and EVERYTHING he did and did it effortlessly.

  5. Sorry to hear. I worked with Ed on The Prince and The Pauper in Florida, lots of laughs. Saw him again in LA 2011 he actualy remembered me…….

  6. Frank W says:

    ONE OF THOSE ACTORS who was believable in any role he played.

  7. KenD says:

    How could they forget Capt. Knauer from The original Longest Yard? Perfect sense of menace hinged and not.

  8. Noel ONeill says:

    Ed Lauter was one of those fine rare characters that made you look forward to each performance. He will be tremendously missed.
    He us a legacy of work that we can enjoy over and over. Deepest sympathies to his family. Noel

  9. Christina Mathis says:

    Thank you for the amazing body of work you have brought to the Film Industry, the audiences. The versatility of your characters performed as a true professional and continued to elevate his love of the complex craft of acting. You will be missed. But your screen presence will live on for generations of audiences and studied by upcoming actors alike.
    Much compassion to your family. As I suppose your in the SAG in Rock N Roll Heaven. X Christina

  10. Sue Marvin says:

    What a shame. He was a very good actor.

  11. Jim says:

    Was great in the original version THE LONGEST YARD with Burt Reynolds and Eddie Albert.

    RIP

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