Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor best known for his turn as the replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner, died last Friday at his home in the Netherlands, the actor’s agent, Steve Kenis, confirmed to Rolling Stone. He was 75.
While Kenis did not give a cause of death, Variety reported that Hauer died after a short illness. His funeral was held Wednesday.
While Hauer spent the early part of his career acting in a variety of films and television shows in the Netherlands and Britain, Blade Runner marked just his second role in an American film. Nevertheless, he made a lasting impression as Roy Batty, the fugitive replicant trying to evade Rick Deckard, the reluctant cop played by Harrison Ford enlisted to track down Batty and his co-conspirators.
At the end of the film, a dying Batty delivers the famed “tears in rain” monologue, a speech Hauer partly wrote himself. In his autobiography, All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants, and Blade Runners, Hauer recalled that he “wasn’t that happy” with the original page-long monologue that Blade Runner director Ridley Scott had originally planned. So the actor took it upon himself to cut 30 lines from the speech and keep the two he felt were the most poetic. Then he added the most famous line himself, “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears of rain.”
“What I love about the final sequence is that Roy performs an act of kindness and compassion — saving Decker’s life,” Hauer wrote in All Those Moments. “At the moment Deckard falls, Roy grabs. He doesn’t really have a reason for doing it. In the last speech, which is a speech a lot of people like, he’s still just running programs…. Roy is never a hero, but for a moment he acts like one.”
Hauer was born in Breukelen in the Netherlands, the son of two drama teachers. While he studied at the Academy for Theater and Dance in Amsterdam, when he was 15 he spent a year working on a freighter, while later he worked as an electrician and served as a combat medic in the Dutch army. As a professional actor, Hauer got his start in an experimental theater troupe, while he notched his first on-camera role in Paul Verhoeven’s 1969 TV series Floris.
Over the next few years, Hauer worked on an array of film and television projects, notably collaborating with Verhoeven again on Turkish Delight — which helped Hauer score his first English-speaking roles in Britain — and Soldier of Orange. In 1981, Hauer finally made his Hollywood debut when he was cast as the terrorist Wulfgar in Sylvester Stallone’s Nighthawks. Blade Runner was released the following year, and Hauer would go on to spend the next several decades working tirelessly on an array of film and TV projects.
Among Hauer’s myriad roles, many in a villainous capacity, one of his most notable is a turn in the 1987 British television film, Escape From Sobibor, for which he won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. In 1994, he received another Golden Globe nod for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Film for his turn in the World War II drama Fatherland. Hauer also appeared as the titular psychopath in the 1986 horror classic The Hitcher, a spy in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, a duplicitous cardinal in Sin City and the CEO of Wayne Enterprises in Batman Begins and a blind swordsman in Blind Fury, as well as TV shows like True Blood and Smallville. In 2011, he starred in Hobo With a Shotgun, an over-the-top B-movie homage based on a fake trailer from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse.
In all, Hauer racked up at least 174 film and TV credits, according to IMDB (seven of those projects haven’t even been released yet). In a 2011 interview with The AV Club, Hauer touched on his love of acting and his desire to keep working, saying, “The profession that I have is so much fun. You’ve been to Sundance — how much fun do you think that is? There’s nothing better for an actor than to be right there with an audience that goes berserk because of the story… If you have moments like that every five years, you can live forever on it, until you die.”