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Rutger Hauer, genre actor and Blade Runner icon, has died at 75

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Enlarge / Hauer on the set of Blade Runner.
Warner Bros

Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, an icon of genre fiction perhaps best known to general audiences for his portrayal of renegade android Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult classic Blade Runner, died on Friday.

As reported today in Variety, Hauer’s agent Steve Kanis confirmed the actor’s death, noting that a funeral had already been held. Hauer died at the age of 75 at his home in Beetsterzwaag in the Netherlands after struggling with an unnamed illness.

Hauer starred as a leading man in Dutch TV series and films before starring alongside Sylvester Stallone in 1981’s Nighthawks. He soon became a staple of ’80s genre films, appearing in Blade Runner, Ladyhawke, and The Hitcher, among others.

Later in his career, he played a recurring role in Batman Begins, Sin City, the HBO series True Blood, and numerous lower-budget genre films such as The Scorpion King 4 and Dracula 3D. He also voiced Master Xehanort in the 2019 video game Kingdom Hearts III.

Hauer was an outspoken environmentalist and the founder of an AIDS awareness organization, to which he committed proceeds from an autobiography he wrote and published in 2007. He is survived by his spouse, a daughter, and grandchildren.

To many, he will be most remembered for his dying monologue in Blade Runner, a poignant meditation on death and memory that still resonates with viewers today. Blade Runner was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples and was based on a book by renowned science-fiction author Philip K. Dick, but Hauer famously wrote his iconic monologue himself. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” Hauer begins when delivering the speech in the film. And given the life and career this actor enjoyed, it’s easy to believe at least that snippet held true off-screen, too.

Roy Batty’s Blade Runner death scene.

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