Ed Lauter Ed Lauter

Character actor Ed Lauter, who appeared in films including The Artist,The Longest Yard and Born on the Fourth of July, died Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. He was 74.

Lauter died of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, his publicist told the AP.

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Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Lauter majored in English Literature in college and went on to have an acting career that spanned more than 50 years. Some of his most memorable roles included the prison guard in 1974's The Longest Yard, opposite Burt Reynolds, a gas station attendant in Alfred Hitchcock's Family Plot, and a cop who takes justice into his own hands in Death Wish 3. He also played a butler in the 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist.

Lauter's television appearances included roles on The OfficeERThe X-Files and Murder, She Wrote.

He is survived by his wife, Mia, and four children, the AP reports.