(written from a Production point of view)
Ed Lauter (30 October 1938 – 16 October 2013; age 74) was the actor who played Lieutenant Commander Albert in the Star Trek: The Next Generation fifth season episode "The First Duty". He filmed his scenes for this episode between Thursday 30 January 1992 and Monday 3 February 1992 on Paramount Stage 16.
Lauter began as a comedian before moving on to become a film and television actor in 1971. He made his feature film debut in the 1972 sequel The Magnificent Seven Ride!, co-starring fellow Star Trek alumni William Lucking and James B. Sikking. Lauter and Sikking also appeared in The New Centurions that same year.
Perhaps Lauter's best known role is Captain Knauer in the original 1974 blockbuster The Longest Yard. He and star Burt Reynolds were the only two actors from the original film to reappear in the 2005 remake, albeit in different roles. The remake also starred veteran Trek actor James Cromwell. Other films Lauter appeared in during the 1970s include Breakheart Pass (with Jill Ireland), the 1976 remake of King Kong (with Rene Auberjonois), Magic (with David Ogden Stiers), and Alfred Hitchcock's last film, Family Plot (1976). He also had a role in the 1978 mini-series How the West Was Won. William Shatner, Fionnula Flanagan, William Boyett, Robert DoQui, Brian Keith, Ricardo Montalban, George D. Wallace, Morgan Woodward, and Harris Yulin were also involved with this series. Lauter was also part of the mini-series Greatest Heroes of the Bible, as were Ted Cassidy, Jeff Corey, Frank Gorshin, Nehemiah Persoff, John Schuck, and Dean Stockwell.
In 1980, Lauter co-starred with LeVar Burton, Brad Dourif, Meg Foster, and Madge Sinclair in the made-for-TV movie Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones. In 1982, he co-starred with Paul Williams, Henry Darrow, Ken Lynch, and William Daniels in the made-for-TV movie Rooster. His many other movie credits during the 1980s include Cujo (with Daniel Hugh Kelly), Death Wish 3 (with Marina Sirtis and Gavan O'Herlihy), 1984's Nickel Mountain with Heather Langenkamp in her film debut, Girls Just Want to Have Fun (with Biff Yeager and Morgan Woodward), Real Genius (with Beau Billingslea, Jeanne Mori, Peter Parros, Louis Giambalvo, and Randy Lowell), the TV remake of The Defiant Ones (with Wil Wheaton), Youngblood (with Fionnula Flanagan), Class 89 (with Rene Auberjonois), Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (with James Cromwell, Tom Hodges, and Raymond Forchion), Fat Man and Little Boy (starring Dwight Schultz), and Born on the Fourth of July (with Bob Gunton, Richard Poe, and Mike Starr).
In 1990, Lauter starred in My Blue Heaven with Bill Irwin. In 1991, he starred in The Rocketeer along with Bill Campbell, Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn, Tiny Ron, Max Grodénchik, Clint Howard, and William Boyett. 1992 saw Lauter in the 1950s set race drama School Ties with Voyager guest Kevin Tighe. In 1993, he made an uncredited appearance in the crime thriller True Romance, featuring Saul Rubinek and starring Christian Slater. The following year, he co-starred with Star Trek: Voyager actors Robert Picardo, Ethan Phillips, and Charles Rocket in the Western comedy Wagons East.
Other movies in which Lauter appeared include TV's The Tuskegee Airmen (1995, with Christopher McDonald, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Tim Kelleher, and Janet MacLachlan), Digital Man (1995, with Chase Masterson and Clint Howard), Leaving Las Vegas (1995, with Steven Weber and Thomas Kopache), Mulholland Falls (1996, with Melinda Clarke, Michael Krawic, Titus Welliver, Buddy Joe Hooker, Johnny Martin, Louise Fletcher, and Azalea Davila), TV's Married to a Stranger (1997, also with Louise Fletcher), TV's A Bright Shining Lie (with Kurtwood Smith and Richard Libertini), and TV's Python (2000, starring Wil Wheaton).
Lauter was one of many Star Trek alumni to appear in the 2000 drama Thirteen Days. Also starring in this film were Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp, Kevin Conway, Tim Kelleher, Bill Smitrovich, Boris Krutonog, Jack Blessing, and Peter White. The following year, he and Michael Ensign appeared in the 2001 comedy Not Another Teen Movie. In 2003, Lauter appeared in the Oscar-nominated drama Seabiscuit, also with Michael Ensign as well as Michael Buchman Silver. In 2004 he appeared in the science fiction sequel Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, with Bobby C. King, Brenda Strong, Lawrence Monoson, and Oliver Keller.
Besides The Next Generation, Lauter made guest appearances on several popular TV series, most notably a recurring role as Fire Captain Dannaker on ER. He also appeared in the two-hour pilot episode for Hardcastle and McCormick, starring fellow Trek alumni Brian Keith and Daniel Hugh Kelly. Lauter appeared on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in the second season episode "Cats in the Cradle". The Trek alumni working with Lauter were Megan Gallagher, Ellen Geer, and Frank Military. The episode was written by Kristin Dobkin, daughter of TOS: "Charlie X" director and TNG: "The Mind's Eye" guest star Larry Dobkin.
Lauter was later seen as "The Butler" in the award-winning drama The Artist (2011, with James Cromwell, Malcolm McDowell, Hal Landon, Jr., Andy Milder, Annie O'Donnell, Mark Donaldson, Brian J. Williams, Tim de Zarn, and Bill Blair), had a supporting role in the television movie Carnal Innocence (2011, with Pancho Demmings), and filmed the thriller Blind Pass (2012).
Leaving the 2012 Oscars ceremony, an embarrassing incident occurred when a "tired" BBC News reporter, live, on-air, in the early hours of the morning, thrust a microphone into the face of someone they had been told was "Patrick Stewart" – it turned out it was Ed Lauter.