The rugged Dutch actor Rutger Hauer passed away at the age of 75 on July 19th at his home in the Netherlands. The Blade Runner star reportedly died after a short but undisclosed illness. 

Growing up, his parents ran an acting school in Amsterdam. He developed his acting abilities at the Academy for Theatre and Dance and then joined an experimental theater troupe before landing the title role in a Dutch television series. 

“I inherited more from my parents than I realized: an urge to act. That’s my addiction,” he once said. In celebration of Hauer’s life and work, here are a few of his best-known film roles.

BLADE RUNNER

Arguably the most influential science fiction film of all time, the incomparable Blade Runner (1982) introduced the world to the soulful yet savage replicant and leader of the cyborg revolution, Roy Batty. Rutger Hauer virtually invented the complicated and emotionally complex android with the heart of a digital chronoscope and the spirit of a philosopher-poet warrior. 

Indeed, he’s responsible for one of the most iconic and lyrical monologues in cinema history as he waxed poetic about the wonder and the fleeting nature of existence—even if you are an automaton:

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

The night before the shoot, he pared down the script’s lengthy monologue because he didn’t care for it. “I kept two lines that seemed to make sense because they were related to a few things in the script, and then I was looking for just one line that would kind of, in a tiny nutshell, you would feel what Roy feels,” he shared. In turn, he wrote what would go on to become the iconic line, “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” 

The monologue is all the more poignant in context as Batty decides to spare Deckard’s (Harrison Ford) life in an act of sheer human empathy and brutal karmic affirmation. Not bad for a killer robot!

THE HITCHER

The 1986 slasher film The Hitcher is loved by many and reviled by others. And it is indeed so controversial precisely because of Rutger Hauer’s terrifying and unrelenting performance as the mysterious, indiscriminate psychopathic killer of the lonely highways and byways of desolate America, John Ryder. This is one bloody and inexorable horror thriller that is all the more creepy given its emotionless violence and inexplicable slayings.

The Hitcher plays like a fever dream of incomprehensible momentum, with John Ryder a grinning, malevolent Dean Moriarty doppelganger hell-bent on lawless mayhem and heedless kicks. Be forewarned, The Hitcher will cornflower your bugaboo and pettifall your arcadium. No kidding. 

BATMAN BEGINS

When Bruce Wayne returns to Wayne Enterprises he’s met by the man who’s been looking after his father’s legacy for many years with a steady hand and well-informed guidance, the affable Mr. Earle. But as it happens, Mr. Earle has been quietly taking over the Gotham City mega-corporation in a manner worthy of Games of Thrones or The Godfather series; this is high-level treason. Rutger Hauer is so unassuming as the benevolent caretaker, it’s hard to believe he’d even consider screwing over the rightful heir to the kingdom. And yet he’s a treacherous viper, a coiled snake, ready to strike when the time is right. 

The role of Mr. Earle is one of Mr. Hauer’s smaller parts to be sure, but he makes such an impression as the corporate raider with eyes of blue and a Gordon Gecko-like heart, the performance needs to be revisited and appreciated.

Hauer is also remembered for his roles in the 1973 Dutch film Turkish Delight which is the most successful film in the history of Dutch cinema as well as the 1981 film Nighthawks opposite Sylvester Stallone.

Hauer is survived by his second wife, Ineke ten Cate, who he has been with since 1968 (they married in 1985) as well as his daughter, Aysha Hauer, and his grandchild.  

 

Comments

comments