Blade Runner actor Rutger Hauer dead at 75

Dutch film actor Rutger Hauer, who specialized in menacing roles, including a memorable turn as a murderous android in Blade Runner opposite Harrison Ford, has died.

Played murderous android opposite Harrison Ford in the 1982 sci-fi film

Dutch film actor Rutger Hauer, known for roles in Blade Runner, Batman Begins and Ladyhawke, died July 19 at his home in the Netherlands, according to his agent. (Victoria Will/Invision/The Associated Press)

Dutch film actor Rutger Hauer, who specialized in menacing roles, including a memorable turn as a murderous android in Blade Runner opposite Harrison Ford, has died. He was 75.

Hauer's agent, Steve Kenis, says the actor died July 19 at his home in the Netherlands.

Hauer's roles included a terrorist in Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone, Cardinal Roark in Sin City and playing an evil corporate executive in Batman Begins. He was in the big-budget 1985 fantasy Ladyhawke and won a supporting-actor Golden Globe award in 1988 for Escape from Sobibor.

In Blade Runner, he played the murderous replicant Roy Batty on a desperate quest to prolong his artificially shortened life in grim, 21st-century Los Angeles.

In his dying, rain-soaked soliloquy, he looked back at his extraordinary existence. "All those moments will be lost in time. Like tears in rain. Time to die," he said.

He told The Associated Press in 1987: "It's so much fun to playfully roam into the dark side of the soul and tease people.

"If you try to work on human beings' light side, that's harder. What is good is hard. Most people try to be good all their lives. So you have to work harder to make those characters interesting."

Hauer's ruggedly handsome face, blue eyes and strong physique drew the attention of American producers in such international successes as Turkish Delight, Spetters and Soldier of Orange. The offers from the United States came as a surprise to Hauer, who faced the same uncertain future experienced by other Dutch film actors.

"We make about 10 films a year, all in Dutch," he recalled. "You act for your own community, basically, which is fine. But you can't live on it. There is also the danger of overexposure; you can't be too greedy."

After the world recognition for Soldier of Orange, a friend suggested Hauer might be able to find work in American films.

Followed parents' footsteps

Hauer was born in the Netherlands village of Breukelen. His parents were actors, but he had little concentration for school and, at 15, ran away to work as a seaman on a freighter.

That didn't take, nor did a stint in the army, and his parents decided he was destined to follow the family profession. Rutger enrolled in acting school.

Hauer spent five years with a small troupe bringing theatre to rural Holland. He made his film debut in the saucy Turkish Delight, nominated for an Oscar as best foreign language film of 1973.

Earlier in his career, a Hollywood agent suggested changing his name to something easier for the American public to learn.

The actor declined.

"If you're good enough, people will remember your name," he explained.

Hauer is survived by his wife of more than 30 years, Ineke ten Cate, and a daughter, actress Aysha Hauer, from a previous marriage.


  • An earlier version of this story stated Hauer was married to his wife for 50 years. They were together from 1968, but married in 1986.
    Jul 24, 2019 4:13 PM ET


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