Mesothelioma Claims Character Actor Ed Lauter

Film and television star Ed Lauter – whose acting career spanned more than four decades – passed away this week in Los Angeles. The 74-year-old character actor died from mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer.

Lauter’s publicist told the Hollywood Reporter that Lauter was diagnosed in May with mesothelioma, which is caused by asbestos exposure. How Lauter may have been exposed to asbestos is unknown. There are 3,200 mesothelioma cases diagnosed annually in the U.S.

Lauter is the second celebrity to die of mesothelioma in recent months. In August, this disease also took the life of Sean Sasser, AIDS activist and a former cast member of MTV’s Real World.

Despite Lauter’s illness, he continued to work until the last few months of his life. His recent films include Trouble With the Curve (2012), The Artist (2011), and Seabiscuit (2003). Some of the film roles for which he will be remembered include Captain Wilhelm Knauer in The Longest Yard (1974) and Maloney in Alfred Hitchcock’s final film, The Family Plot (1976).

Lauter’s television appearances included roles in both comedies and dramas. He guest starred on The Office, ER, NYPD Blue, Murder She Wrote, and Miami Vice, just to name a few.

Born in 1938 in Long Beach, New York, Lauter was a prolific performer. His credits include more than 200 films and television shows. He made his debut as an actor on Broadway in 1968, appearing with James Earl Jones in the original stage production of The Great White Hope.

Lauter is survived by his wife and four children. The Ed Lauter Foundation has been established in his honor with the goal of helping aspiring young actors.