Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor famed for his roles in Blade Runner and True Blood, has passed away at his home in the Netherlands aged 75 following a brief battle with an unspecified illness.
Hauer’s agent, Steve Kenis, announced the sad news of the star’s death confirming that he passed away on July 19 and his funeral was held on Wednesday.
Despite portraying a number of Hollywood’s most iconic villains, in a statement Kenis described the Hauer as a ‘great guy’ off-screen and commended his extraordinary acting talent.
Hauer made a name for himself in supernatural and horror projects but his most notable and beloved role came as Roy Batty, the murderous synthentic-human nemesis of Harrison Ford in 1982’s Blade Runner.
He reportedly rewrote the dialogue for his final monologue in the film as his character passes away – improvising the movie’s most famous line.
‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,’ his character says in the rain-soaked soliloquy, reflecting on his brief artificial existence.
‘All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.’
Hauer’s introspective performance, combined with Ridley Scott’s directorial prowess, went on to cement the scene as one of the most iconic moments in Sci-Fi cinema history.
Reflecting on the iconic moment in 2017 ahead of the release of Blade Runner 2049, Hauer revealed how he ‘took a knife’ to the original script and re-wrote the dialogue to match his interpretation of Ridley’s vision.
‘I understood, on a very strong level, what he wanted, and by instinct I gave it to him.
‘I was hoping to come up with one line where Roy, because he understands he has very little time, expresses one bit of the DNA of life that he’s felt,’ Hauer told the Radio Times. ‘How much he liked it. Only one life.’
After Blade Runner, Hauer would go on to star in a vast number of other films including, The Hitcher, Sin City and Batman Begins.
Hauer continued working right up until his death, utilizing his later years to move seamlessly between movies and television, making appearance on such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the iconic HBO vampire series, True Blood.
Born on January 23, 1944 in the town of Breukelen, a short distance from Amsterdam, both of Hauer’s parents were acting teachers.
He left home at 15 to join the Dutch navy before returning to Amsterdam in 1962 to study acting.
Hauer went on to become a member of the Noorder Compagnie – a touring theater group – for six-years before landing his big break in the medieval TV series ‘Floris’, in 1969 – launching him through the ranks of Dutch stardom.
He would go on to star in three more Dutch feature films before utilizing his bilingual skills to launch his Hollywood career as the villain in Sylvester Stallone’s 1981 terrorist action flick, Nighthawks.
A Hollywood agent would suggest soon after that Hauer change his name to something easier for the American public to learn, but he declined, saying: ‘If you’re good enough, people will remember your name.’
Hauer won a Golden Globe for the 1987 British TV movie Escape from Sobibor, starring Alan Arkin, before winning artistic acclaim the following year in Ermanno Olmi’s Italian production ‘The Legend of the Holy Drinker’, in which he portrayed a homeless and drunk criminal who finds redemption on the streets of Paris.
He also had two other projects that had not begun filming.
In 2013, Hauer was given the prestigious title of knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Off screen, he was active in social causes as an outspoken environmentalist and advocate for various causes that were close to his heart, including AIDS awareness.
He previously launched the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, a non-profit organization aimed at raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and specifically helping focusing children and pregnant women impacted by the virus.
‘The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association announces with infinite sadness that after a very short illness, on Friday, July 19, 2019, Rutger passed away peacefully at his Dutch home,’ the association said in a statement.
‘He leaves his beloved wife Ineke, after they have been together for fifty years.
‘We at Starfish will always cherish the many unforgettable memories we have of Rutger and his dedication to the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association.
‘One of Rutger’s last wishes was that Starfish should continue its charity activity and its fight against the AIDS disease, and with Ineke’s precious help, involvement and direction we will follow Rutger’s wish and will do our best to carry on Rutger’s inestimable legacy.
Hauer is survived by his second wife, Ineke ten Cate, and his daughter, fellow actress Aysha Hauer, from his first marriage to Heidi Merz.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro took to Twitter to express his grief at news of the actor’s death.
‘RIP the great Rutger Hauer: an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films’.