Ed Lauter

Ed Lauter

Lauter, c. 1975
Born Edward Matthew Lauter Jr.
(1938-10-30)October 30, 1938
Long Beach, New York, U.S.
Died October 16, 2013(2013-10-16) (aged 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Mesothelioma
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968–2013
Spouse(s) 5th wife: Mia Roberts Lauter (May 2006 – October 16, 2013; his death)
Children 4 (total)

Edward Matthew Lauter Jr. (/ˈlɔːtər/ LAW-tər;[1] October 30, 1938 – October 16, 2013), known as Ed Lauter, was an American actor and stand-up comedian.[2] He appeared in more than 200 films and TV series episodes in a career that spanned over 40 years.[3]

Personal life

Lauter was born and raised in Long Beach, New York,[3] the son of Sally Lee, a 1920s Broadway actress and dancer, and Edward Matthew Lauter.[1][4] He was of German and Irish descent.[5] After graduating from high school, he majored in English Literature in college and received a B.A. degree in 1961 from the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University.[1] While in college, he played basketball.[2] Lauter served for two years in the United States Army.


Lauter's first acting role was a small part in the Broadway production of The Great White Hope, a boxing drama, in 1968.[2] Before that, he was a stand-up comedian.[2] His screen acting debut was in a 1971 episode of the television series Mannix.[3] His first theatrical film role was in the Western Dirty Little Billy in 1972.[3]

As a character actor, Later was known for his 6'2" height and balding looks.[2]

He starred with Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris, Karen Black and William Devane in Alfred Hitchcock's final film, Family Plot.[1] Hitchcock was impressed by Lauter and asked him to play a major role in the romantic espionage thriller he planned as his next film; the director's failing health and eventual death in 1980 meant that The Short Night never went into production.[6]

Later appeared in many films, including half a dozen in 1972 alone. Among Lauter's most prominent film roles were The Longest Yard (a.k.a. The Mean Machine) (1974), King Kong (1976), Magic (1978), Death Hunt (1981), Timerider (1982) Death Wish 3 (1985), My Blue Heaven (1990), The Rocketeer (1991), Seraphim Falls (2006) and The Artist (2011).

Later's TV appearances included the role as the villain sheriff Martin Stillman in the How the West Was Won TV series and guest-performances on The New Land, Psych, The X-Files (as Mulder's childhood hero, Gemini astronaut Col. Marcus Aurelius Belt in the season 1 episode "Space"), Kojak, The A-Team, Miami Vice, Magnum, P.I. (episode Operation Silent Night), Booker, Charmed, Highlander: The Series, Law & Order, 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).[7] Lauter was memorable in a rare leading role as Private Detective Bud Delaney in the 1975 NBC television movie "Last Hours Before Morning".[8]


On October 16, 2013, two weeks before his 75th birthday, Lauter died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, having been diagnosed five months earlier in May.[2][3][9] Following his death, Lauter's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against many well-known broadcasting, automotive, and manufacturing companies for exposing Lauter to asbestos, which caused the four spots of mesothelioma on his brain that led to his death. The suit alleges that Lauter was exposed to asbestos at various movie studios and location sets over his 40-year career as an actor in Los Angeles.

Married five times, he is survived by his fifth wife, Mia Lauter, and his four children from previous marriages.[10] He continued to work until a few months before his death, completing roles in several films still to be released after his death.[11]

To honor his work, the Ed Lauter Foundation is being established, which will award a scholarship yearly to aspiring young actors.[3]

Reflecting on his lengthy career, Lauter said in a 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times:[2]

A lot of people say, "I know you," but they don’t know my name. But I’ve had a great run.
Ed Lauter, Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2013, quoting 2012 interview



  1. 1 2 3 4 "An Interview with Ed Lauter". Shock Cinema. New York City: 3–8, 48. May 2010. Cover photo at the Wayback Machine (archived August 27, 2011), Lauter on bottom in a scene from the 1976 Hitchcock film Family Plot
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Noland, Claire (October 16, 2013). "Ed Lauter, character actor in films and television, dies at 74". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2013. Los Angeles Times newspaper, October 17, 2013, " . . . died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles of mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects tissue surrounding internal organs."
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Barnes, Mike (October 16, 2013). "Prolific Character Actor Ed Lauter Dies at 74". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 18, 2013. The Hollywood Reporter online, October 16, 2013
  4. "General's Role Keeping SCV Acting Veteran Busy"
  5. Stephens, Chuck (May–June 2012). "A Face in the Crowd: Ed Lauter". Film Comment. Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2 November 2013. Of German and Irish descent,...
  6. "Ed Lauter On FAMILY PLOT & the Vanishing Hitchcock Movie". The Short Knight Hitchcock Blog. March 7, 2011.
  7. Ed Lauter at the Internet Movie Database
  8. http://jamesreasoner.blogspot.com/2012/02/tuesdays-overlooked-movies-last-hours.html
  9. "Veteran character actor Ed Lauter dies at age 74". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 18, 2013. San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, October 17, 2013.
  10. Rogers, John (October 17, 2013). "Veteran Character Actor Ed Lauter Dies at Age 74". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  11. "Character actor Ed Lauter dies at age 74". Fox News. October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
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