Lauria grew up in Lindenhurst, NY, and developed his interest in performing from his aunt who used to awaken him to watch old movies on TV. A joke cracked on the football field in college led to acting lessons with Yale's Constance Welch. After a three year stint in the Marines, during which he served in Vietnam, Lauria returned to school and earned an MFA in playwriting. He joined the Washington Theatre Club where he performed in over 50 plays before decamping to NYC and a stint on the CBS soap opera "Love of Life." He wrote and starred in the Off-Broadway production "The Game Plan" and spent several years in touring companies and in off-off- and off-Broadway shows. Lauria had a regular role on the ABC soap "One Life to Live."In 1985, the actor moved West to film the busted pilot "Brass," with Carroll O'Connor. He began making guest appearances on series like "Moonlighting" and "Hill Street Blues" and finally landed a regular berth with "The Wonder Years." Once cast on that show, he moved to higher profile TV-movies, including the well-reviewed "David" (ABC, 1988) and the controversial "Howard Beach: Making the Case for Murder" (NBC, 1989). Lauria starred opposite Joanna Kerns in the NBC miniseries "The Big One: The Great Los Angeles Earthquake" (1990) and was featured in several of the network's "In the Line of Duty" TV-movies. He briefly returned to series TV in support of Patty Duke in "Amazing Grace" (NBC, 1995) and has continued to lend his considerable weight to various shows in guest shots.On the big screen, Lauria made his debut in "Without a Trace" (1983) and had small roles in "9 1/2 Weeks" (1986) and in the blockbuster "Independence Day" (1996). His best known role, however, may be as the police captain to undercover cops Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in "Stakeout" (1987) and its sequel "Another Stakeout" (1993).