Among the most pleasant experiences I have enjoyed in recent
years was a long, leisurely lunch with Ed Lauter, one of my all-time-favorite
character actors, last November at the Starz Denver Film Festival. For the
better part of two hours before we engaged in an on-stage, post-screening
Q&A after the Denver Fest premiere of Ed Burns’ delightful “The Fitzgerald
Family Christmas,” we chatted about the highlights of our respective careers —
and he was graciously polite enough to indicate he found my anecdotes almost as
interesting as his.
Mind you, it wasn’t like we were in any sort of “Can
you top this?” competition. Because, really, what could I possibly say
that could top his account of being cast by Alfred Hitchcock in “Family Plot” after The Master of Suspense spotted him in “The Longest Yard”? Lauter impressed
Hitchcock so much that he was set to co-star in “The Short Night,” Hitchcock’s
next film — the film, alas, Hitchcock didn’t live to make.
Lauter passed away October 16 at age 74, leaving behind a
body of work that ranges from “The Magnificent Seven Ride!” (1972) and “French
Connection II” (1975) to “The Artist” (2011) and “Trouble With the Curve” (2012).
Read the rest of this article at Moving Picture Blog.
Check out the kooky, Hitchcock-narrated trailer for “Family Plot” below. Lauter makes an appearance at the 1:21 mark: