Veteran character actor Ed Lauter, an instantly recognizable figure in scores of movies and TV shows during a career that stretched across five decades, died Wednesday. He was 74.
Lauter died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure, said his publicist, Edward Lozzi.
He was the brutal prison guard who was Burt Reynolds' nemesis in the 1974 comedy-drama “The Longest Yard” and the sleazy gas station attendant in Alfred Hitchcock's last film, “The Family Plot.” In “Death Wish 3,” he was the violent cop who teams with Charles Bronson.
More recently he was the butler to Berenice Bejo's French ingenue in the 2011 Oscar-winning film “The Artist.”