The veteran actor played Peppy’s butler in Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist and appeared in Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With The Curve — some of the most recent roles in a prolific four-decade career. Ed Lauter died today of a rare form of cancer at his home in West Hollywood. He was 74. He had roles in dozens of films and TV shows including a recurring gig on Showtime’s Shameless. He also recurred as a fire captain on ER. The Long Island native’s long list of credits includes the features Leaving Las Vegas, Mulholland Falls, The Rocketeer, My Blue Heaven, Alfred Hitchcock’s final film Family Plot and the Rob Lowe hockey pic starrer Youngblood. But Lauter might be most recognizable for his key role in another sports movie: He played Capt. Knauer — the imposing, football-playing prison guard and Burt Reynolds’ nemesis in 1974’s The Longest Yard. He had a different role in Adam Sandler’s 2005 remake. On TV, he appeared in episodes of such popular series of the past 40-plus years as The Office; Grey’s Anatomy; CSI; Law & Order; Psych; NYPD Blue; Walker, Texas Ranger; The X Files; The Equalizer; Murder, She Wrote; Magnum, P.I.; Simon and Simon, Charlie’s Angels; The Rockford Files; Police Story; Baretta; Cannon; and Mannix.
Lauter also recurred on B.J. and the Bear and its spinoff series. Before breaking into television, he had a role on Broadway in The Great White Hope and returned to the Main Stem in a mid-’80s revival of The Front Page.