It’s with great sadness that we report Rutger Hauer has died at the age of 75. Variety confirms the actor passed away on July 19 following a “short illness”, and that funeral was held on July 24. Hauer is best known to audiences for his iconic role in Ridley Scott‘s Blade Runner, in which the Dutch actor portrayed the defiant Replicant Roy Batty across from Harrison Ford. Hauer’s “tears in the rain” speech is an instantly recognizable film moment that helped kick off a whole new era for science-fiction, steampunk, and noir.
Hauer, who got his start as the leading man in Paul Verhoeven‘s Dutch TV series, Floris, had a singularly unique screen presence that lent itself to an eclectic resume filled with villains, horror, and sword-and-sorcery fantasy. In addition to Blade Runner, the 80s saw the actor play a sadistic terrorist across from Sylvester Stallone in Nighthawks, a bird-wielding captain guard in Richard Donner‘s big-budget fantasy Ladyhawke, and a mercenary in Flesh & Blood, which re-teamed him with Verhoeven. Hauer’s homicidal maniac John Ryder in Roger Harmon‘s road-horror flick The Hitcher is one of the greatest 80s horror villains of all time.
1992 saw Hauer play a major role in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie from director Fran Rubel Kuzui. The actor would keep that vampiric streak going throughout his career, appearing in the 2004 mini-series adaptation of Stephen King‘s Salem’s Lot, horror maestro Dario Argento‘s Dracula 3D, and HBO’s True Blood.
More recently, Hauer played shady Wayne Enterprises CEO William Earle in Batman Begins, put in one of the wildest, most emotionally affecting performances of his career in the 2012 grindhouse indie, Hobo with a Shotgun, and played the President of the World State Federation in Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets. He recently returned to TV to play the endlessly creepy Joseph Peach on Syfy’s Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block and lent his voice to the video game Kingdom Hearts III. His IMDB page currently lists four upcoming projects in post-production.