Making a name for himself in the acting world since the early ’70s, Dutch actor Rutger Hauer has died at the age of 75.
Hauer’s agent, Steve Kenis, confirmed the news that the star died at his home after a short illness, and his funeral took place Wednesday, per Variety.
A leading man in the ’70s, Hauer is best known for his role as Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner. Hauer starred opposite Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard as the villainous leader of a gang of outlaw replicants. Hauer’s role in the film was raved about, and he even wrote his own dialogue for the film’s climactic face-off between Batty and Deckard, the most unforgettable scene of Hauer’s career. The sci-fi noir film is today regarded as a classic of the genre, and even garnered a sequel, Blade Runner: 2049, starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Denis Villeneuve.
Hauer was born Jan. 23, 1944, in Breukelen, Netherlands, which is near Amsterdam. Barely studying acting, Hauer ran away from home at 15 to join the Dutch merchant navy. He returned to Amsterdam in 1962 to study acting, but shortly dropped out for a stint in the army. When he finally began acting full-time, Hauer became a member of the Noorder Compagnie, which got his foot in the door for bigger roles.
Quite versatile as an actor, Hauer made his debut on the ’60s Netherlands TV series Floris, from Paul Verhoeven. Four years later, Hauer made his feature film debut in the Academy Award-winning Dutch film Turkish Delight, which not only won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, but also became a box-office hit.
After appearing many arthouse Dutch films throughout the ’70s, Hauer made his first foray into Hollywood in 1981 opposite Sylvester Stallone in the thriller Nighthawks. After that, it seemed Hauer had a piqued interest for action and thriller films, with future roles in Ladyhawke, The Hitcher, A Breed Apart and Blade Runner.
At the turn of the decade, Hauer found himself venturing into TV and low-budget movies, as well as horror, where he found himself often playing the villain. He starred as Lothos in the 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer film.
In 1994, Hauer found himself with his second Golden Globe nomination for his work in the TV movie Fatherland. Prior to that, the actor won a Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Televisionf for his work in the 1992 TV movie Escape from Sobibor.
Hauer seemed to have a knack for fantasy and horror, and into the 2000s he starred in the TV mini-series Merlin as King Vortigern, as well as the fantasy mini-series The 10th Kingdom. Later in his career, Hauer starred as Van Helsing in Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D, the vampire Barlow in the adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Niall Brigant in the HBO vampire drama True Blood.
He garnered small roles in George Clooney’s Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, as well as TV shows Alias and Smallville, before scoring roles as Cardinal Roark in Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City, and the corporate villain, Earle, who runs Wayne Corp. in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
One of Hauer’s most notable cult-classic roles is his lead role in Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun, where Hauer plays a homeless vigilante who kills bad guys with his trusty shotgun.
Other than acting, Hauer was active with the environmental organization Greenpeace. Hauer also founded the Starfish Association, which is a nonprofit advocating for AIDS awareness.
Starring in over 100 films, Hauer has left a lasting impact on Hollywood between his minor roles to his arguably greatest role in Blade Runner, as well as his outside work to call awareness to social issues.
Hauer is survived by his second wife, Ineke ten Cate, and his daughter, Aysha Hauer, who’s an actress herself.