Ed Lauter, the famous American actor who played the butler in the 2012 Oscar-winning movie "The Artist", passed away at his home in Los Angeles, Wednesday. He was suffering from a rare form of cancer called 'Mesothelioma,' which is caused due to excess exposure to asbestos. He was diagnosed back in May.
With a five-decade career span, Lauter has left us with some great performances and memories. He had a strong screen presence and was perhaps one of the most recognizable faces from showbiz.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, in a 2003 interview, Lauter recollected:
"Someone once said to me, 'Eddie, you're a "turn" actor.' What's that? He said, 'That's when a story is going along and your character shows up and the story suddenly takes a major turn.' That's kind of neat."
True to form, Lauter threw himself completely in the role, be it small or big. He always left an imprint on the audiences' minds and never failed to awe with his performances.
Some of his most memorable roles include the cruel prison guard in the 1974 comic-drama "The Longest Yard", which apparently was one of his favourite characters, the violent cop in "Death Wish 3" and the sleazy gas station attendant in Alfred Hitchcock's last movie "The Family Plot", reports 9News.com.
His character portrayal was so real that he soon became a popular face. He was frequently recognized in the public for his roles. However, not many knew his name.
"But sometimes people don't know my name. They'll say, 'Oh, yeah! There's that guy! You were in ... you were in ..," he said.
Not only did Lauter make his presence felt on the large screen but also featured on many TV shows including "ER", "The Rockford Files", "The Office" and more recently, the Showtime series "Shameless" and also "Grey's Anatomy."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lauter was born on October 30, 1938, and was a native of Long Island Beach. He went to study at the Long Island University on a basketball scholarship and majored in English. He got his first Broadway break in 1968 in the boxing drama "the Great White Hope". He moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s to pursue a career in Hollywood and TV and the rest, as they say, is history!
Several projects that Lauter completed before his death are ready for release like "Blind Pass" and "The Town that Dreaded the Sundown." The films are slated for a 2013 and 2014 release respectively.
Lauter is survived by his four children and wife, Mia.
Film Comment once wrote about Lauter:
Lauter is the sort of go-to-work-every-day artistry that sits uneasy with the Academy: he makes breathing his trademarked mix of mercenary malice and madman gleam into myriad combustible characters seem as effortless as Satan flicking his tongue.
Lauter once thought of getting a nose job. Apparently, he decided otherwise, reports The LA Times.
"Years ago, I was thinking about getting my nose change. But I am so glad I didn't."