Ed Lauter, the veteran character actor, has died at the age of 74. Lauter died On Wednesday 16th October at his home in West Hollywood. His publicist, Edward Lozzi, announced his death resulted from mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer usually caused by exposure to asbestos. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the sad news.

Ed Lauter
Ed Lauter died on Wednesday at the age of 74.

Lauter was highly praised for his chameleon acting abilities. He was able to portray violent and menacing as easily as a benevolent character. One of his most famous roles was in The Longest Yard in which he played Burt Reynold's nemesis, an aggressive prison guard. More recently he starred in The Artist as the butler to a Hollywood star, played by Berenice Bejo. He also worked with a number of other actors and directors such as Charles Bronson, Alfred Hitchcock, Clint Eastwood and Tom Cruise, amongst others. 

He was a beloved star and widely recognised. Unfortunately, as Lauter said, in a 2010 interview with Cinema Shock magazine, that "sometimes people don't know my name. They'll say, 'Oh, yeah! There's that guy! You were in... you were in..."

Ed Lauter
Ed Lauter recently starred in The Artist.

Not only was Lauter a prolific actor he was also adept at comedy. His publicist, Lozzi, said to THR: "He [Lauter] was a pal, not just a PR client; his former stand-up comedy days would always entertain us behind the scenes with his most incredible impersonations. He called me as Clint Eastwood from the set of Trouble With the Curve last year. We really thought it was Eastwood!"

Lauter was born in 1938 and grew up in Long Beach, New York. Many of the characters he would portray were inspired by the people in his childhood. Lauter is survived by his fourth wife Mia and his four children. Contactmusic send their condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ed Lauter. 

Ed Lauter
Ed Lauter was directed by Alfred Hitchcock in the director's last film The Family Plot.