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

Dutch actor also starred in ”Ladyhawke,“ ”Batman Begins“ and ”Sin City“

Rutger Hauer, the Dutch actor best known for portraying the tragic villain Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic “Blade Runner,” died following a short illness. He was 75.

His website, the Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, announced the news Wednesday. Hauer’s managers, as well as his agent Steve Kenis, also confirmed his passing to TheWrap and added that a funeral was held for Hauer on Wednesday morning.

Hauer starred opposite Harrison Ford as the ruthless replicant Roy Batty in “Blade Runner” in 1982 after making his American film debut in 1981 with Sylvester Stallone in “Nighthawks.” The actor subsequently appeared in several ’80s action and adventure hits like “Ladyhawke,” “Flesh+Blood,” “The Hitcher” and “Wanted: Dead or Alive.” He also won a Golden Globe for his work in the TV movie “Escape from Sobibor,” about a commandant at a death camp in World War II.

However he first came to fame in his native country after working with Dutch director Paul Verhoeven on the 1969 medieval TV series “Floris.” Verhoeven cast him again in 1973’s “Turkish Delight,” which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film for the Netherlands at the Oscars. He would work again with Verhoeven twice more on “Soldier of Orange” and “Spetters.”

In the ’90s, Hauer appeared in a series of surreal and then humorous ads for the beer Guinness along with the tagline “Pure Genius.” And more recently, he starred in films such as “Sin City,” “Batman Begins” and “Hobo With a Shotgun.” He also had a knack for the supernatural, portraying both Dracula and Van Helsing in a pair of projects, and he had a short arc on the HBO series “True Blood” as Niall Brigant.

Hauer also had an unexpected connection to one of the biggest pop culture sensations of the late 20th century. Novelist Anne Rice has consistently said her personal conception of the appearance of the vampire Lestat, the main character of her “Vampire Chronicles,” is inspired by Hauer.

“You want to know what Lestat looks like to me? Look at this photograph,” Rice said in a 2015 Facebook post on Hauer’s 71st birthday. “I didn’t base Lestat’s description on Hauer. I didn’t encounter him till after I’d written “Interview with the Vampire” in which Lestat sprang to life pretty much on his own. But this is surely how I see my beloved Brat Prince hero.”

Most recently, Hauer provided the voice for the villain Master Xehanort in the 2019 video game “Kingdom Hearts III,” replacing the late Leonard Nimoy.

He’s survived by his wife Ineke, to whom he was married for 50 years.