Character actor Ed Lauter was a face we all knew, even if you didn’t know his name off the top of your head. He worked as an actor for more than 40 years and had amassed more than 200 acting credits for his film and TV work since 1972. Some of his most famous roles include 1970s football flick The Longest Yard, family friendly trucker-with-a-monkey show BJ and the Bear, ER and, most recently, on Showtime’s Shameless. But in October 2013, Ed Lauter lost his struggle with pleural mesothelioma at age 74.
With his death, Lauter became one of a number of celebrities that have died from this terrible asbestos-related disease alongside Steve McQueen, Warren Zevon and Merlin Olsen. Tragically, Lauter was diagnosed just five months prior to his death last Fall. While far more non-famous than famous people lose their lives to mesothelioma, celebrities with the disease draw attention to asbestos issues and that’s helpful for all asbestos victims.
Earlier this month, Lauter’s wife and four children (from previous relationships) filed a wrongful death lawsuit over the actor’s illness.. While acting isn’t typically thought of as a high-risk industry, mesothelioma is caused by asbestos, so exposure to the toxic substance is assured, it’s just a matter of determining where and when Lauter was exposed.
The defendants in the suit are numerous and include CBS and NBC – two networks where Lauter worked frequently over the years. Also named were General Electric (GE) and Ford Motor Company. The suit accuses CBS and NBC of having asbestos in the studios where Lauter filmed over a period of decades. Ford was included in the suit because of asbestos elements in brakes and other auto parts in vehicles Lauter owned over the years.
Because it takes decades between exposure and diagnosis of mesothelioma, it’s sometimes complicated to determine where and when the victim encountered asbestos. It’s the task of the Lauter family’s attorney to figure this out. At Bergman Draper Oslund, we offer compassionate advocacy and bring all our years of expertise and research to get the best results for you or your loved one that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lost their struggle with the disease.
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