Television & Film

BLADE RUNNER Star Rutger Hauer Dead at 75

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams
glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.

Rutger Hauer, star of the genre classics Blade Runner and Ladyhawke, has died after a short illness. He was 75.

Hauer was born on January 23rd, 1944, in the town of Breukelen, in the Netherlands. His parents were both drama teachers, and he would go on to study acting at the Academy for Theater and Dance in Amsterdam. After taking a break from school to serve as a combat medic, Hauer returned to acting and was cast as the lead in the 1969 Dutch television series Floris, directed by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall). Verhoeven would go on to cast him in the 1973 feature film Turkish Delight, which received international acclaim and inspired Hauer to do more work outside of his home country. He would continue to call the Netherlands his home, working in both film and television there throughout his life, even as he worked in American, British and other international productions.

Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, from BLADE RUNNER. Directed by Ridley Scott, 1982
Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, from BLADE RUNNER. Directed by Ridley Scott, 1982

While American audiences were first introduced to Hauer in the 1981 film Nighthawks, it was his portrayal of Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982’s Blade Runner that made him a genre star. Hauer’s performance opposite Harrison Ford – as the rogue replicant searching for both a sense of meaning for his existence and a reprieve from the short life-span of his artificial life – has been widely praised, with particular attention paid to Batty’s final moments and the “Tears in the Rain” monologue, which the actor rewrote himself.

Though he did not limit himself to genre productions, many of Hauer’s science fiction and horror appearances have become fan favorites. Alongside Blade Runner and Ladyhawke, he had roles in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sin City, Hobo With A Shotgun, Merlin, Smallville, Salem’s Lot, True Blood, Batman Begins and more. He replaced the late Leonard Nimoy as the voice of Master Xehanort in the video game Kingdom Hearts III, and voiced the lead character in 2017’s Observer.

Outside the genre world, Hauer received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1987 TV film Escape from Sobibor, and he had roles in The Osteman Weekend, Inside the Third Reich, Galavant, The Tenth Kingdom and many, many more. In 1999, Hauer was awarded The Dutch Actor of the Century Rembrandt for his body of work, and in 2013, Hauer was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion for his contribution to Dutch culture.

The announcement of his death first appeared on his website today, alongside his request for continued support of his charity, the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association. Starfish is a non-profit that focuses on providing care to children and pregnant women with HIV/AIDS, as well as HIV/AIDS education and awareness programs. They reported that he passed away in Friday, July 19th, at his home in Beetsterzwaag, in the Netherlands province of Friesland.

He is survived by his wife, Ineke ten Cate, and his daughter, Aysha Hauer, from his first marriage to Heidi Merz.

Timothy Harvey

Timothy Harvey is a Kansas City based writer, director, actor and editor, with something of a passion for film noir movies. He was the art director for the horror films American Maniacs, Blood of Me, and the pilot for the science fiction series Paradox City. His own short films include the Noir Trilogy, 9 1/2 Years, The Statement of Randolph Carter - adapted for the screen by Jason Hunt - and the music video for IAMEVE’s Temptress. He’s a former President and board member for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City, and has served on the board of Film Society KC.

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