Cinema fans were devastated yesterday to learn that Dutch actor Rutger Hauer had passed away suddenly after a short illness. The Blade Runner star was 75 years old.
Rutger Hauer’s first credit is a Dutch TV show called Floris that saw him playing a Medieval knight for the first time–but not the last–in his career.
Hauer worked with fellow Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven in Turkish delight, a sensual film that became the most successful movie in the country’s history. It netted an Academy Award nomination in 1973 for Best Foreign Language Film and catapulted both Hauer and Verhoeven onto the international stage.
Although he was best known for his iconic role in 1982’s Blade Runner, Hauer’s career spanned multiple decades.
Roy Batty was so much more than the mere villain of Blade Runner. His “tears in rain” speech remains an iconic moment in film history. Hauer proved to be sexy, dangerous, and ultimately heartbreaking in the role. His performance was the perfect foil to Harrison Ford’s weary, futuristic detective.
But what about some of his other achievements? Another classic role from the 80s was in Ladyhawke, a cult favorite about a Medieval knight and his star-crossed lady love (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) who are cursed to live as an animal while the other is human. Look, it was the 80s and we were really into weird fantasy, okay? It’s still a beautiful movie.
With his naturally sinister smile and undeniable magnetism, Hauer was cast to play vampires multiple times over his career. He starred as the main antagonist in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie as well as Barlow in the 2004 miniseries adaptation of Salem’s Lot. He got a taste of the other side of the horror equation as Van Helsing in Dracula 3D.
Hauer returned to mainstream blockbusters as the villains in both 2005’s Sin City and Batman Begins. He also starred in the 70s throwback Grindhouse film Hobo with a Shotgun in 2011.
Most recently, he made the jump to TV. He played Sookie Stackhouse’s grandfather on True Blood and Kingsley on Galavant–a musical comedy about medieval Europe. It was too strange for this world, sadly.
Now, our world is a little bleaker without Hauer’s steely blue gaze and surprisingly puckish wit. He might have made his mark as a villain, but the man himself worked tirelessly to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS with his non-profit foundation.