Rutger Hauer, the Dutch wunderkind of an actor whose steely intensity made his presence unforgettable in films like Blade Runner, Nighthawks, and other challenging projects, died on July 19 2019 at his home in the Netherlands after a short illness, per Variety. He was 75.
The blond-haired actor with piercing blue eyes was a force majure on screens big and small. There was always an expected nervousness he gave the viewer when playing characters, there was always a wonderful unsettling feeling he gave to the energy of whatever might have been going on in a picture, and his magnetism went toe to toe with screen stalwarts like Harrison Ford in Blade Runner and Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams in the underrated crime yarn Nighthawks.
Both of those aforementioned pictures were released in the early 1980s, when Hauer was at his arguable peak as a perfect supporting villainous character actor, although he could equally carry a project on his back, as evidenced in his leading the sprawling works such as The Hitcher, Ladyhawke, Flesh+Blood, The Osterman Weekend, and even more slightly in the mainstream fare such as 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and 2005’s Sin City, which by then Hauer had become a cult living legend in the best possible sense. Alongside Sin City, he also appeared in the vampire-soaked in-Bourbon HBO television show True Blood and also did voice over work in his later years, the videogame Observer and one of his final projects Kingdom Hearts III being two examples.
Born in on January 23, 1944 in Breukelen, Netherlands, Hauer grew up mainly in Amsterdam and began his screen acting career in Floris, the 1969 Dutch medieval action television series from Paul Verhoeven. The role, which he reprised in a 1975 German remake, earned him popularity in his native land. He went on to do several more Dutch-speaking projects, before making his English-language debut in the 1975 British film The Wilby Conspiracy. But it was in 1981’s Nighthawks, in which he made his American debut, that Hauer earned his “bad guy” reputation, which led to years of him playing the terrifying antagonist roles in films.
Rutger Hauer is survived by his second wife and partner of 50 years, Ineke ten Cate; his daughter, actress Aysha Hauer, from his first marriage; and a grandson. He was an environmentalist and humanitarian who established the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, an AIDS awareness charity organization. The actor leaves behind a great legacy and body of work. He will be remembered always for his role in Blade Runner alone, especially for
Since its release 40 years ago, Blade Runner has become a motion picture elevated to almost mythic proportions, ala this generation’s Metropolis in many senses, but it was Hauer’s powerful climatic “Tears in Rain” monologue which fans will forever remember him.
RIP Rutger Hauer
January 23, 1944 – July 19, 2019
Blade Runner – Final scene, “Tears in Rain” Monologue
Nighthawks (1981) – Clip 3: Hostage
Ladyhawke (2/10) Movie CLIP – Captain Navarre (1985)