Blade Runner is an iconic piece of cyberpunk science fiction. One of the reasons the film has remained popular to this day was because of the role of Roy Batty, played by Rutger Hauer. While technically a villain of the film, the character asks important questions about the nature of existence in a speech at the end of the film that has become part of cinema history. Today we remember Roy Batty’s reflection on mortality as the man behind him has passed away at the age of 75.
Variety reports that Rutger Haur’s funeral was held today, He actually passed away on the 19th at his home in the Netherlands, following a brief illness.
Rutger Hauer’s acting career began in 1969 when he was cast in the Dutch TV series Floris by an up and coming director named Paul Verheoven. He then reprised the role in a 1975 revival of the series Floris von Rosemund.
Rutger Hauer’s Hollywood debut would come in the 1981 Sylvester Stallone film Nighthawks but his major introduction to American audiences would be in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner a year later. The film wouldn’t see a great deal of success in its initial release, but it would become a cult classic, introducing generations to Rutger Hauer as each discovered the film.
Rutger Hauer would go on to a successful career, frequently covering other major genre films like the fantasy epic Ladyhawk or as the psychopath in The Hitcher. He played a blind Vietnam vet armed with a sword in Blind Fury and the leader of a den of vampires in the original film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Even at 75-years-old Rutger Hauer continued to work. His voice was recently heard in the Kingdom Hearts III video game, taking up a role previously held by Leonard Nimoy, and he also had a role in Luc Besson’s Valerian and the World of A Thousand Planets.
He also still has a collection of work yet to be released, including playing the Ghost of Christmas Future in an upcoming UK television adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
Still, of the nearly 175 roles that Rutger Hauer played in his career, most of us will always come back to Roy Batty. And considering that the man behind Roy is no longer with is, it certainly makes that final speech resonate a bit more.
It’s always sad to lose great and talented people. Rutger Hauer wasn’t one of those major movie stars whose name sold tickets, but he was one of those familiar faces that movie fans were always happy to see. It’s unfortunate that we won’t see him in anything new, but his body of work is guaranteed to stand the test of time.