Ed Lauter, the US character actor, had died aged 74 after a battle with mesothelioma, an aggressive form of lung cancer. Although he has over 200 acting credits under his belt, he is best known for playing a brutal prison officer in classic 1974 movie The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds. He also appeared in the Adam Sandler remake in 2005.

More recently, Lauter appeared as Peppy Miller's chauffer in Oscar-winning The Artist (2011), supported Clint Eastwood in Trouble With the Curve and was seen on the small screen in ER, Grey's Anatomy, Shameless USA and The Office.

He was also a successful stand-up comedian, popularised by his impressions of various movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney.

His family plan to honour his work via a charity foundation and an annual scholarship fund will be established for aspiring young actors.