Character actor Ed Lauter has died aged 74, it has been announced.
Ed Lauter, recently seen in the Oscar-winning The Artist, played chauffer to the female character Peppy Miller, played by Oscar nominee actress Berenice Bejo.
Publicist Edward Lozzi said Ed Lauter died on Wednesday of mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung, commonly caused by asbestos exposure.
The character actor also starred in ER and opposite Burt Reynolds in 1974’s The Longest Yard.
Ed Lauter played a sadistic prison guard whose team squares up to Burt Reynolds’ team of misfit convicts in a game of American Football.
He also starred in a 2005 remake, starring Adam Sandler.
The original landed him a starring role in Alfred Hitchcock’s final movie Family Plot in 1976.
Ed Lauter, who started out as a standup comic, was also famed for his impersonations of movie stars
Last year, Ed Lauter starred with Clint Eastwood and Justin Timberlake in the baseball movie Trouble With the Curve.
Ed Lauter, who started out as a standup comic, was also famed for his impersonations of movie stars.
Edward Lozzi told the Hollywood Reporter: “He called me as Clint Eastwood from the set of Trouble With the Curve last year. We really thought it was Eastwood!”
Ed Lauter was also known to do impersonations of black and white stars James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.
Born in Long Island, New York in 1938, Ed Lauter made his Broadway debut in the original 1968 stage production of The Great White Hope, which also starred James Earl Jones.
His TV debut was came in a 1971 episode of private eye series Mannix and he made his first big screen appearance in the Western, Dirty Little Billy.
Standing at 6ft 2in and prematurely bald with a long, square face, Ed Lauter was often cast as thugs or stern authority figures.
He was quoted as saying: “I like those roles. Lee Marvin once told me, <<When you play a heavy, every once in a while make the audience like you a little bit. Then they’ll think, “Wait a minute, he’s not such a bad guy. Did you see the way he petted that dog?”>>”
Ed Lauter played the recurring character Dick Healy in the US version of Shameless and had several projects in post-production.
Black and white film The Artist has triumphed at the Oscars, winning five awards including best picture, best director and best actor for Jean Dujardin.
Michel Hazanavicius , The Artist director- winning on his first ever nomination – thanked the dog, Uggie, who appears in the film but added: “I don’t think he cares.”
Jean Dujardin said of his character: “If George Valentin could speak, he would say <<Wow! Victorie! Genial! Merci!>>”
The Artist also won the Oscars for best original score and best costumes.
Martin Scorsese’s Hugo also won five Oscars, mainly in technical categories.
Meryl Streep won best actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady – her 17th Oscar nomination and third Oscar win.
The actress thanked the Academy “for this inexplicably wonderful career”.
“When they called my name I had this feeling I could hear half of America going: <<Aww no. Not her again>>. But, you know, whatever.
“I look out here and I see my life before my eyes. My old friends, my new friends. This is such a great honor but the thing that counts the most for me is the friendships… Thank you. All of you, departed and here.”
Meryl Streep won best actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady - her 17th Oscar nomination and third Oscar win
Jean Dujardin broke into his native French language in celebration shouting: “Wow, victory!”
“Thank you to the Academy. It’s funny because in 1929, it wasn’t Billy Crystal but Douglas Fairbanks who hosted the first Oscars ceremony. Tickets cost $5 and it lasted 15 minutes. Times have changed.”
1929 was the last year that a silent movie won an Oscar.
Canadian actor Christopher Plummer became the oldest Oscar winner at 82 by taking the best supporting actor prize.
He was widely tipped to win for his portrayal of a father who comes out as a gay man after his wife dies in Beginners.
Christopher Plummer thanked his real-life wife who, he said, deserved “the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day”.
The Help‘s Octavia Spencer won the best supporting actress Oscar and gave an emotional acceptance speech, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.
“Thank you Steven Spielberg for changing my life…oh my God, thank you… I’m freaking out,” Octavia Spencer told the audience, after struggling up to the stage in a floor-length gown.
Best adapted screenplay went to Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants, starring George Clooney.
Veteran screenwriter and director Woody Allen won best original screenplay for Midnight in Paris but was not there to collect the award.
The first two awards of the night went to Hugo for cinematography and art direction.
Robert Richardson was cinematographer on Martin Scorsese’s 3D film and Francesca Lo Schiavo was art director.
And later, the film about an orphan who lives in a train station picked up a further three Oscars, all in technical categories.
Best sound editing was won by Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty.
Hugo’s Tom Fleishman and John Midgley won the Oscar for sound mixing and the film also picked up the award for best visual effects.
Rango won best animation, a first Academy award and nomination for director Gore Verbinski, who said it was “made by grown-ups acting like a bunch of children”.
The film features the voice of Johnny Depp, who plays a chameleon.
Best animated short film was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
The Oscar for costume design went to Mark Bridges for The Artist, who thanked the Academy “for making a lifelong dream come true”.
The best make-up prize went to J Roy Helland and British artist Mark Coulier for The Iron Lady.
Iran’s A Separation became the first Iranian film to win an Oscar when Sandra Bullock presented director Asghar Farhadi with best foreign language film.
Set in contemporary Iran, it tells the story of a marriage break-down.
Best film editing went to Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – the pair also won last year for The Social Network. Both films were directed by David Fincher.
The Oscar for best original song was won by Bret Mackenzie for Man or Muppet from the soundtrack to The Muppets.
Best documentary went to Undefeated, a film about an inner city American football team whose fortunes are turned around by a new coach.
The executive producer of the film was rapper Sean “P Diddy” Combs.
Northern Ireland film The Shore won the best live action short film.
Saving Face, about a British-Pakastani doctor who helps women who have been injured in acid attacks, won best documentary short.
Earlier, Morgan Freeman introduced the evening before a comic video was shown of George Clooney waking up host Billy Crystal with a kiss – in a parody of his nominated film The Descendants.
Freeman said: “All of us are mesmerized by the magic of the movies. This magnificent event allows us to celebrate the present and look back at its magnificent past”.
Billy Crystal hosted the 84th Oscars ceremony at the Kodak theatre in Los Angeles.
He joked: “This is my ninth time – just call me War Horse.”
On the red carpet, British comedy actor Sacha Baron Cohen turned up dressed in a white military uniform and sporting a beard and sunglasses, promoting his upcoming film The Dictator.
Sacha Baron Cohen arrived holding an urn he jokingly claimed contained the ashes of Kim Jong Il, the late leader of North Korea.
He then tipped the container on to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest.
The silent black and white French film The Artist is the clear favorite to take the coveted best picture prize as the final countdown to the 2012 Oscars has begun.
The Artist has won most of the major pre-Oscar honors during awards season.
The film has 10 nominations in total, while Martin Scorsese’s 3D family film Hugo leads the race with 11, including best film and director.
The 84th Academy Awards takes place on Sunday and will be hosted by Billy Crystal.
Billy Crystal is back for his ninth stint as host, with Oscar-watchers predicting lots of silent film gags and jibes about the recent legal wrangle over the Kodak-branded theatre where the Oscars is held.
Billy Crystal himself is giving nothing away, but tweeted this week: “First rehearsal: They said keep it <<fresh and new>>. This from an industry that just brought us Fast & Furious 5 and Harry Potter 7, part 2.”
The final round of voting by the Academy’s 5,783 members ended on Tuesday. Outside the venue, a section of Hollywood Boulevard has been sealed off and the red carpet is in place.
Industry newspaper The Hollywood Reporter says The Artist’s predicted win for best picture follows its victory in the two strongest “Oscar bellwethers”, the Producers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America awards.
“This French-financed, Hollywood-shot, Harvey Weinstein-distributed love letter to the movies has gone on to seduce Hollywood since being unveiled at Cannes in May.
“It is now poised to become the first silent film in 83 years and the first black-and-white film in 18 years to win the top Oscar.”
The silent black and white French film The Artist is the clear favorite to take the coveted best picture prize at Oscars 2012
A change in the Academy voting rules means that there are nine films in the best picture race this year.
Alongside The Artist and Hugo, those in the running include War Horse, Moneyball, The Tree Of Life, Midnight In Paris, The Help, The Descendants, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
George Clooney and Brad Pitt are both up for best actor, and Meryl Streep has her 17th Oscar nomination for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
Meryl Streep has won two Oscars – best supporting actress for 1979’s Kramer vs Kramer and best actress for 1982’s Sophie’s Choice – but has been overlooked on her last 12 attempts.
Oscar pundits predict a close race between Meryl Streep and Viola Davies, for her performance as maid Aibileen Clark in civil rights drama The Help.
In the supporting actress category, The Help’s Octavia Spencer is the frontrunner, ahead of fellow cast member Jessica Chastain, and Melissa McCarthy and Britain’s Janet McTeer – for Bridesmaids and Albert Nobbs respectively.
Unusually, this year’s race for best supporting actor boasts two octogenarians: Christopher Plummer for Beginners and Max von Sydow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Both are 82, and if either win they would become the oldest recipient of an acting award. The record is currently held by Jessica Tandy, who won for Driving Miss Daisy, aged 80.
Christopher Plummer is widely predicted to take the statuette for his role as an elderly father who comes out as gay after his wife dies.
The others in the category are Nick Nolte, for Warrior; Kenneth Branagh, for My Week with Marilyn; and 28-year-old Jonah Hill, for Moneyball.
Things are less clear-cut in the race for best actor.
Hollywood heart-throbs George Clooney and Brad Pitt face a stiff challenge from The Artist’s Jean Dujardin, who beat them – and British star Gary Oldman – at the BAFTAs earlier this month.
It’s Oldman’s first Oscar nomination, which recognizes his quietly powerful performance as mole-catcher George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The outsider in this category is Mexican actor Demian Bichir for his role as a Los Angeles gardener, struggling to keep his son out of gang culture, in A Better Life.
Earlier this week, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Academy demographic is much less diverse than the movie-going public.
Oscar voters, it said, are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. They have a median age of 62, and under 50’s constitute just 14% of the membership. All of which, puts The Artist in pole position.
Mike Goodridge, editor of Screen International, said: “You’re looking at a group that are going to vote for The King’s Speech over The Social Network, for The Hurt Locker over Avatar, and this year it’s going to go for this portrait of days gone by.”