‘Blade Runner,’ ‘The Hitcher’ Star Rutger Hauer Dies @ 75

Rutger Hauer, the intense, blond actor who throughout his 50-year career was at his best playing the worst people, died last week following "a very short illness." He was 75.

RIP Rutger Hauer (Image via Warner Bros.)

Hauer died at his home in the Netherlands.

Born January 23, 1944, in Breukelen, Utretcht, he made his TV debut 50 years ago. His first major part was on the Dutch series Floris (1969), a medieval drama directed by Paul Verhoeven (b. 1938), and he would appear in Dutch projects as well as in Hollywood fare steadily from then until his death.

His starring role in the hit film Turkish Delight (also by Verhoeven) brought Hauer more attention, leading to his 1975 English-language debut, The Wilby Conspiracy.

His U.S. debut was Nighthawks (1981), playing a psychopath — which would become his specialty, a fact cemented by his demented Roy Batty in Blade Runner (1982), an iconic film and performance.

A runner-up for the film most associated with Hauer would be 1986's The Hitcher, a highly regarded, grisly thriller.

Roy toy (GIF via GIPHY)

Highlights of his prolific film career include Ladyhawke (1985), Blind Fury (1989), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003), Sin City (2005), and Batman Begins (2005).

Hauer was no stranger to TV, and was honored with a Golden Globe nomination for Escape from Sobibor (1987). He had recurring roles on True Blood (2013-2014) and Porters (2017-2019).

(Image via the Rutger Hauer Starfish Assoc.)

As wicked were his ways on the big screen, Hauer was known as a big-hearted conservationist and social activist off-screen, including launching the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association to fight AIDS.

Hauer is survived by his second wife, Ineke ten Cate, to whom he'd been wed since 1985, and by his daughter from his first marriage, to Heidi Merz.

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