Lauter's acting break came with a role in The Magnificent Rogue (1946), in which he played a model.
He came to be a familiar presence in supporting roles in low-budget films, serials (where he was often cast because of his facial resemblance to stuntman Tom Steele, who would double for him), and television programs in the 1950s. Only once did he really came close to stardom, as Clay Morgan, one of the leads in the CBS television series Tales of the Texas Rangers,:1051 which aired fifty-two episodes from 1955 to 1958. His co-star was Willard Parker as Ranger Jace Pearson.
Lauter portrayed Ralph Cotton on the television version of The Roy Rogers Show. He made appearances on many television programs, particularly westerns: The Gene Autry Show (sixteen episodes), Annie Oakley (twelve episodes), The Lone Ranger and The Range Rider (eleven episodes each), Gunsmoke and Rawhide (ten episodes each), Death Valley Days and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (seven episodes each), Laramie and Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (six episodes each), The Virginian and State Trooper (five times each), and Cheyenne, Bonanza, and Maverick (three episodes each).