After making himself popular in his native Netherlands via a lead role in a 1969 hit television show, actor Rutger Hauer would then head to Hollywood, where he would become a part of cyber-punk popular sci-fi history. He was cast opposite Harrison Ford as the antagonist Roy Batty, a “Replicant” artificial human with a limited lifespan in 1982’s “Blade Runner” by Ridley Scott. Following that film, which was partly immortalized by a moving soliloquy delivered by Hauer, he would become a regular star or bad guy in B-movies and occasional blockbusters, even going into videogame voice acting. And after a career spanning some 50 years, Rutger Hauer has passed away.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that the celebrated Dutch actor died at the age of 75 in his Netherlands home last Friday, July 19 as disclosed by his agent Steve Kenis. The cause of death has not been revealed other than that it was by illness, and the only reason the public has learned of it almost a week later was because Hauer’s family has worked to keep the news blacked out until his funeral, held Wednesday July 24. Kenis spoke of Hauer as “a wonderful man and terrific actor.”
The Dutch film star had acting in his blood, being born in January 23, 1944 to drama teacher parents. This back background would serve Hauer well upon deciding to make acting his career. At some of the films he was part of the directors even gave him free rein to rewrite his dialogue, most famous in “Blade Runner” where Hauer edited the dying words of his character. Such was his performance that Philip K. Dick, the author whose novel the Warner Bros.-produced movie was adapted from, praised the casting of Hauer for Batty as perfect.
“Blade Runner” aside, Rutger Hauer has managed to be part of many other productions on film and TV that would be the foundations of bigger things. He was the head villain in the 1992 movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” which was a prototype for the TV series, as well as The CW’s “Smallville” and HBO’s “True Blood.” Hauer also proved himself as award-winning material with a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe for the 1987 TV movie “Escape from Sobibor.” Fans of Disney and Square Enix videogames know him as the voice of the Master Xehanort for 2019’s “Kingdom Hearts III.”
It can be said that Hauer’s career in entertainment parallels the claim of his iconic character Roy Batty in his “Blade Runner” monologue, which states he has seen many things. He caps that statement with the plain declaration, “Time to die.” However, his body of work is so famous with fans that perhaps, for a time, they and he will not soon be forgotten like, says Batty, “Tears in rain.”
Image courtesy of Fox News