Dutch actor Rutger Hauer, who is best recognised for his role as replicant leader Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s 1982 cyberpunk cult epic Blade Runner has died, aged 75. His official website announced the news, saying that Hauer passed away “after a very short illness, on Friday, July 19” at his home in the Netherlands.
His chilling performance as one of cinema’s scariest robots, the murderous, blonde-haired humanoid Roy Batty, saw the prolific actor deliver arguably the most memorable speech in sci-fi film history. The monologue, also known as the “Tears in Rain” speech, was largely improvised by Hauer, and sees Batty face his adversary Rick Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, in the final moments before he dies. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” he tells Ford’s character at the end of the original Blade Runner. “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.”
Performing in several languages, including his native Dutch and English, Hauer rose to fame as a key player in both European and Hollywood cinema, starring in a string of roles in Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeve’s Turkish Delight, Soldier of Orange and Katie Tippel, as well as Sylvester Stallone’s 1981 movie Nighthawks, where he played a bloodthirsty terrorist. Always the villain, Hauer also gained notoriety playing vampire lord Lothos in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie and a corporate dickhead in Batman Begins.
Among those paying tribute to the late actor was director Guillermo del Toro, who called Hauer an “intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films”. Organisers of Hauer’s own charity, the Starfish Association – a non-profit devoted to AIDS awareness – also released a statement:
“We at Starfish will always cherish the many unforgettable memories we have of Rutger and his dedication to the Rutger Starfish Association. 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.”
Watch a clip of his unmissable speech from Blade Runner below.