Ed Lauter

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Ed Lauter
Lauter, c. 1975
Edward Matthew Lauter Jr.

(1938-10-30)October 30, 1938
DiedOctober 16, 2013(2013-10-16) (aged 74)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park
Alma materC.W. Post College, B.A. 1961
Years active1968–2013
Mia Roberts Lauter
(m. 2009)

Edward Matthew Lauter Jr. (/ˈlɔːtər/ LAW-tər;[1] October 30, 1938 – October 16, 2013) 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]

Early life[edit]

Lauter was born and raised in Long Beach, New York,[3] the son of Edward Matthew Lauter and Sally Lee, a 1920s Broadway actress and dancer.[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. 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, Lauter 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]

Lauter appeared in many films, including half a dozen in 1972 alone. Among his most prominent film roles were The Longest Yard (a.k.a. The Mean Machine) (1974), Breakheart Pass (1975), King Kong (1976), Magic (1978), Death Hunt (1981), Timerider (1982), Cujo (1983), Death Wish 3 (1985), My Blue Heaven (1990), The Rocketeer (1991), Seraphim Falls (2006), and The Artist (2011).

Lauter's television 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"), The Streets of San Francisco (on the series debut episode), Kojak, The A-Team, Miami Vice (season 3 episode 6 Shadow in the Dark), 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, The Waltons,[7] and ER (with a recurring role as Fire Captain Dannaker).[8]


Ed Lauter, 2011

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 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.[10] The lawsuit remains pending as of late 2020.

Married five times, he is survived by his fifth wife, Mia Lauter, and his four children from previous marriages.[11] He continued to work until a few months before his death, completing roles in several films still to be released after his death.[12]

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



Year Title Role Notes
1972 The Magnificent Seven Ride! Scott Elliot
The New Centurions Galloway
Hickey & Boggs Ted
Bad Company Orin
Dirty Little Billy Tyler
Rage Simpson
1973 Lolly-Madonna XXX Hawk Feather
The Last American Hero Burton Colt
Executive Action Operations Chief, Team A
1974 The Midnight Man Leroy
The Longest Yard Captain Wilhelm Knauer
1975 Satan's Triangle Strickland
French Connection II General Brian
Breakheart Pass Major Claremont
1976 Family Plot Joseph Maloney
King Kong First Mate Carnahan
1977 The White Buffalo Tom Custer
The Chicken Chronicles Mr. Nastase
1978 Loose Shoes Sheriff Bob
Magic Duke
1981 Death Hunt Hazel
The Amateur Anderson
1982 Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann Padre Quinn
1983 Eureka Charles Perkins
Cujo Joe Camber
The Big Score Parks
1984 Lassiter "Smoke"
Finders Keepers Josef Sirola
Nickel Mountain W.D. Freund
1985 Girls Just Want to Have Fun Colonel Robert Glenn
Real Genius David Decker
Death Wish 3 Police Chief Richard Shriker
1986 Youngblood Murray Chadwick
Raw Deal Detective Baker
3:15 Moran
1987 Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise "Buzz"
1989 Gleaming the Cube Mr. Kelly
Tennessee Waltz Unknown
Fat Man and Little Boy Whitney Ashbridge
Born on the Fourth of July Legion Commander
1990 My Blue Heaven Robert Underwood
1991 The Rocketeer FBI Agent Fitch
1992 Judgement Dallas Hale
School Ties Alan Greene
1993 Extreme Justice Captain Shafer
True Romance Captain Quiggle Uncredited
Under Investigation Captain Maguire
1994 Wagons East John Slade
Trial by Jury John Boyle
1995 Leaving Las Vegas Mobster #3
Girl in the Cadillac Ben Wilmer
Digital Man General Roberts
Breach of Trust Colin Kreuger
1996 Rattled Murray Hendershot
Raven Hawk Sheriff Daggert
Mulholland Falls Detective Earl
Coyote Summer Mitchell Foster
Mercenary Jack Cochran
The Sweeper Molls
1997 Top of the World Mel Ridgefield
Allie & Me Detective Frank Richards
1999 Out in Fifty Ed Walker
Night of Terror Father Connelly
2000 Farewell My Love Sergei Karpov
Python Pilot
Thirteen Days General Marshall Carter
Civility Detective Erickson
2001 Knight Club Fire Marshall
Not Another Teen Movie The Coach
2002 Go for Broke Warden Lessen
2003 Gentleman B. Harry Koslow
2003 Seabiscuit Charles Strub
Nobody Knows Anything Gun Expert
The Librarians John Strong
2004 Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation General Jack Gordon Shepherd
Art Heist Victor Boyd
2005 Into the Fire Captain Dave Cutler
The Longest Yard Duane
Venice Underground Captain John Sullivan
Brothers in Arms Mayor Crawley
Purple Heart Civilian
2006 The Lost Ed Anderson
Love Hollywood Style Lawrence
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby John Hanafin Uncredited (scenes deleted)
Seraphim Falls Parsons
2007 The Number 23 Father Sebastian
A Modern Twain Story: The Prince and the Pauper Pop
2008 Camille Sheriff Steiner
The American Standards Harry
Something's Wrong in Kansas Amos
2009 Expecting a Miracle Walter Enright
Godspeed Mitch
2011 The Frankenstein Syndrome Dr. Walton
The Artist Peppy's Butler
2012 The Fitzgerald Family Christmas Jim Fitzgerald
Trouble with the Curve Max
2014 The Town That Dreaded Sundown Sheriff Underwood
2016 Chief Zabu Skip Keisel


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Mannix Sergeant Episode: "The Man Outside"
1971–1972 Longstreet Uniformed Officer / Detective 2 episodes
1972 Cannon Deputy Episode: "A Flight of Hawks"
Ironside Newton Episode: "The Countdown"
1972–1973 The Streets of San Francisco Dr. Joseph Ford 2 episodes
1973 Class of '63 Dave McKay Television film
1974 The Waltons Hyder Rudge Episode: "The Car"
The Migrants Mr. Barlow Television film
Kojak Floyd Episode: "Mojo"
The New Land Unknown Episode: "The Word Is: Growth"
The Godchild Crees Television film
1975 Satan's Triangle Strickland
Baretta Ed Borgue Episode: "Woman in the Harbor"
Last Hours Before Morning Bud Delaney Television film
1976 Police Story Ralph Coleman / Joseph Kinsella 2 episodes
1977 Charlie's Angels Lieutenant Howard Fine Episode: "The Blue Angels"
The Rockford Files Joseph Bloomberg Episode: "The Dog and Pony Show"
1978 How the West Was Won Martin Stillman 5 episodes
The Clone Master Bender Television film
Greatest Heroes of the Bible Ularat 2 episodes
1979 The Jericho Mile Jerry Beloit Television film
Love's Savage Fury Sergeant Weed
Undercover with the KKK Raleigh Porter
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo Captain John Sebastian Cain 3 episodes
1979–1980 B. J. and the Bear Captain John Sebastian Cain 5 episodes
1980 Hawaii Five-O Jonas Halloran Episode: "The Golden Noose"
The Boy Who Drank Too Much Gus Carpenter Television film
Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones Jim Jones Sr. Miniseries
Alcatraz: The Whole Shocking Story Frank Morris Television film
1981 A Nero Wolfe Mystery Clay Baylor Episode: "Sweet Revenge"
1982 In the Custody of Strangers Judge Halloran Television film
Rooster Jack Claggert
1983 Simon & Simon Colonel Lawrence Grayson Episode: "What's in a Gnome?"
St. Elsewhere Stan Morgen Episode: "Working"
Hardcastle and McCormick Rick Vetromile 2 episodes
Manimal Colonel Hunt Episode: "Manimal"
Magnum, P.I. Captain Quintin Episode: "Operation: Silent Night"
1983–1984 The A-Team Major Douglas Kyle / Sheriff Hank Thompson 2 episodes
1984 The Seduction of Gina Carl Television film
CBS Schoolbreak Special Buddy Evans Episode: "Dead Wrong: The John Evans Story"
The Three Wishes of Billy Grier Mr. Grier Television film
Automan Michael Hagedorn Episode: "Murder, Take One"
The Yellow Rose Cal Everett Episode: "Land of the Free"
Crazy Like a Fox Emmett Laszlo Episode: "Pilot"
The Cartier Affair Lyndon Dean Television film
1985 Our Family Honor Ray Wilfong Episode: "End of the Line"
1986 The Defiant Ones Sheriff Leroy Doyle Television film
The Last Days of Patton Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Paul S. Hill
Screen Two Jerry Tyler Episode: "Double Image"
Miami Vice Captain Cahill Episode: "Shadow in the Dark"
The Thanksgiving Promise Coach Gruniger Television film
1987 Ohara Vanders Episode: "Will"
Murder, She Wrote Sheriff Orville Yates Episode: "The Cemetery Vote"
1987–1988 The Equalizer Robert Nichols / Walter Rowan 2 episodes
1989 Booker Kendall Episode: "High Rise"
1990 Father Dowling Mysteries Rex Burnham Episode: "The Confidence Mystery"
Monsters Malcolm Episode: "Malcolm"
Kojak: Flowers for Matty Police Armorer Television film
1991 Golden Years General Louis Crewes Miniseries
1992 Star Trek: The Next Generation Lieutenant Commander Albert Episode: "The First Duty"
Calendar Girl, Cop, Killer? The Bambi Bembenek Story Lieutenant Driscoll Television film
1993 Renegade Jack Barnell Episode: "Partners"
Homicide: Life on the Street Gruszynski Episode: "And the Rockets' Dead Glare"
Murder So Sweet Glen Emory Television film
The Return of Ironside Chief Bell
The X-Files Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Aurelius Belt Episode: "Space"
1994 Secret Sins of the Father Arnold Carter Television film
Birdland Captain John Swede Episode: "Plan B"
Highlander: The Series Avery Hoskins Episode: "Bless the Child"
1995 The Tuskegee Airmen General Stevenson Television film
1996 Kung Fu: The Legend Continues Paladin Episode: "Circle of Light"
Raven Hawk Sheriff Daggert Television film
1997 Married to a Stranger Harry, Megan's Father
Walker, Texas Ranger Silas Bedoe 2 episodes
Under Wraps Kubat Television film
1998 Millennium Warden Kellard Episode: "In Arcadia Ego"
A Bright Shining Lie General Weyand Television film
Dollar for the Dead Jacob Colby
ER Fire Captain Dannaker 6 episodes
1999 The Magnificent Seven Hank Conley Episode: "Vendetta"
2000 Law & Order Defense Counsel Episode: "Entitled"
2001 Charmed Sutter Episode: "The Good, the Bad and the Cursed"
2002 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Barclay Tobin Episode: "Cats in the Cradle..."
2004 JAG General Hughes Episode: "Whole New Ball Game"
2005 Into the Fire Captain Dave Cutler Television film
NYPD Blue Jerry Rasmussen Episode: "Old Man Quiver"
2008 Cold Case Shep "Mack" McAvoy '08 Episode: "One Small Step"
Chocolate News Jack Cagney Episode: "#1.5"
Grey's Anatomy Timothy Miller Episode: "These Ties That Bind"
2009 Expecting a Miracle Walter Enright Television film
2009–2010 Psych Deputy Commissioner Ed Dykstra 2 episodes
2011 Carnal Innocence Austin Hatinger Television film
2012–2013 Shameless Dick Healey 4 episodes
2013 The Office Sam Stone Sr. Episode "Suit Warehouse"


  1. ^ a b c d "Cover photo: Lauter on bottom in a scene from the 1976 Hitchcock film Family Plot". Shock Cinema. No. 38. New York City. May 2010. pp. 3–8, 48. Archived from the original on August 27, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Noland, Claire (October 16, 2013). "Ed Lauter, character actor in films and television, dies at 74". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2013. ... died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles of mesothelioma, a form of cancer that affects tissue surrounding internal organs.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Barnes, Mike (October 16, 2013). "Prolific Character Actor Ed Lauter Dies at 74". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  4. ^ "General's Role Keeping SCV Acting Veteran Busy". Los Angeles Daily News. December 22, 1997. Retrieved November 15, 2020 – via NewsBank.
  5. ^ Stephens, Chuck (May–June 2012). "A Face in the Crowd: Ed Lauter". Film Comment. Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved November 2, 2013. Of German and Irish descent,...
  6. ^ "Ed Lauter On FAMILY PLOT & the Vanishing Hitchcock Movie". The Short Knight Hitchcock Blog. March 7, 2011. Archived from the original on August 27, 2011.
  7. ^ "The Waltons" The Car (TV Episode 1974) IMDb
  8. ^ Ed Lauter at IMDb
  9. ^ "Veteran character actor Ed Lauter dies at age 74". San Francisco Chronicle. October 17, 2013. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  10. ^ Turner, Heidi (May 1, 2014). "Actors Widow Files Asbestos Lawsuit". Lawyers & Settlements.com. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Rogers, John (October 17, 2013). "Veteran Character Actor Ed Lauter Dies at Age 74". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "Character actor Ed Lauter dies at age 74". Fox News. October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2013.

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