Rutger Hauer, the anti-hero from “Blade Runner” and star of the 1986 horror classic “The Hitcher,” has died at the age of 75. Hauer is perhaps better known in recent years for his role as Niall Brigant in HBO’s hit series, “True Blood.” Not to mention roles in “Sin City” and “Batman Begins.” In total, Hauer’s acting career spanned for five decades.
Variety was the first to report that Hauer had died in his homeland of the Netherlands and that his funeral had been held in the country on July 24. An announcement on the actor’s website read, “The Rutger Hauer Starfish Association announces with infinite sadness that after a very short illness, on Friday, July 19, 2019, Rutger passed away peacefully at his Dutch home. He leaves his beloved wife Ineke, after they have been together for fifty years.”
Hauer was born in the town of Breukelen in the Netherlands in January 1944.
Director Guillermo del Toro was among the first to pay tribute to Hauer tweeting, “RIP the great Rutger Hauer: an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films. My personal favorites: Flesh + Blood, Eureka, The Hitcher, Blade Runner, Ladyhawke and Blind Fury.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hauer Left His Homeland to Pursue Acting as Holland Only Makes ‘5 or 10 Films Per Year’
His parents were both drama teachers who had their children raised by nannies, he told the Associated Press in a 1981 interview. When asked why he left his homeland to pursue an acting career, Hauer said, “Holland only makes five to 10 pictures a year, and I knew all the directors. If I stayed there, I would bleed myself to death. So I decided to work on my languages and be alert to what happens.” From there, Hauer said that he became fluent in English and German.
2. Hauer Won a Golden Globe in 1988 for His Portrayal of the Leader of an Uprising Against the Nazis in World War II
In paying tribute to Hauer, the Leeuarder Courant in his homeland referred to him as “the most successful Dutch actor abroad.”
This was solidified following his 1988 win for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Film or Miniseries for his role as Lieutenant Aleksandr ‘Sasha’ Pechersky in the TV Movie “Escape from Sobibor.” Lieutenant Pechersky was the Russian leader of one of the most successful Jewish uprisings at a concentration camp during World War II.
In the 1990s, Hauer would become well known all over again thanks to his role in a series of Guinness commercials that aired in the United Kingdom.
3. Hauer Was Renowned for His Environmentalism & Activism in AIDS Charities
In addition to his many memorable roles, Hauer was known for his activism with regard to AIDS charities and the environment. For efforts in activism, as well as for his glittering acting career, Hauer was made a knight in the Order of the Netherlands in 2013. The message announcing his death on his website made reference to his activism saying, “One of Rutger’s last wishes was that Starfish should continue its charity activity and its fight against the AIDS disease, and with Ineke’s precious help, involvement and direction we will follow Rutger’s wish and will do our best to carry on Rutger’s inestimable legacy.”
4. Hauer Is Survived by His Partner of 50 Years, Ineke ten Cate, & Daughter Aysha Hauer
Hauer is survived by his partner of 50 years, Ineke ten Cate, and his daughter, Aysha Hauer. Hauer’s mother is Hauer’s first wife, Heidi Merz. Hauer married ten Cate in 1985 but the couple had dated since 1968.
5. Hauer Improvised Parts of His Famous ‘Tears in Rain’ Monologue From ‘Blade Runner’
Arguably Hauer’s most famous moment on screen was his “tears in rain” monologue from Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.” Hauer portrayed the character of Roy Blatty in the movie, a vengeful replicant. In the monologue, Hauer tells Harrison Ford, “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.”
One of the movies’ screenwriters, David Peoples, told the Hollywood Reporter that Hauer improvised a portion of his famed speech. After the scripted lines finished, Hauer continued with his own words about memories of the rain. Peoples told the Reporter that after filming stopped, “[Hauer] looked at me like a naughty little boy, like he was checking to see if the writer was going to be upset. I didn’t let on that I was upset, but at the time, I was a little upset and threatened by it. Later, seeing the movie, that was a brilliant contribution of Rutger’s, that line about tears in the rain. It is absolutely beautiful.”