Rutger Hauer, Star of Classics Like ‘Blade Runner,’ Dies at 75
One of the most versatile and memorable actors in the world has died. According to Variety, Rutger Hauer has passed away “at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness.” He was just 75 years old.
Born in 1944 in the Dutch town of Breukelen, Hauer first became famous in his home country working with director Paul Verhoeven, who cast the actor in the television series Floris and then in the wildly successful film Turkish Delight. Several more collaborations with Verhoeven followed, including Soldier of Orange and Spetters.
Hollywood eventually took notice, and Hauer made his way to America. His first major role here was as the sinister Wulfgar in the underrated 1981 Sylvester Stallone crime picture Nighthawks. The next year, Hauer gave what would become his most famous performance, as replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Hauer’s climactic speech as Batty, contemplating his existence as an artificial life form, has become one of the most famous monologues in movie history.
Other highlights of Hauer’s 30+ year career in Hollywood include the title role in the horror film The Hitcher, the lead in Sam Peckinpah’s final film, The Osterman Weekend, the scheming CEO of Wayne Enterprises in Batman Begins, and his performance in the quirky comedy Blind Fury, an Americanized riff on Zatoichi movies, with Hauer as a blind but deadly Vietnam veteran.
Hauer was often cast in American movies as a heavy, but his best roles, like Roy Batty Blade Runner, showed the nuance and humanity he could bring to intense and troubled characters. His unique blend of menace tinged with melancholy should have served him well playing older characters for at least another decade or two. His passing at such a young age is an enormous loss.
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