Rutger Hauer

Variety has announced that Rutger Hauer, the iconic star of The HitcherBlade Runner, and a host of other genre classics, has died after a brief illness at his home in the Netherlands. The actor was 75 years old.

Hauer was born in 1944 in Breukelen, Utrecht, Netherlands to parents Arend and Teunka Hauer. Both parents were actors who ran an acting school, but Hauer resisted their vocation for some time, going so far as to run away for a year to work on a freighter for a year. Unfortunately for him, his color blindness kept him from pursuing a career at sea.

After a series of failed attempts at careers outside acting, he finally began to apply himself to the craft and made his debut on the Dutch TV series Floris at 25 where he vaulted to fame, soon earning the nickname “the Dutch Paul Newman” for his rugged good looks and piercing blue eyes.

He worked on numerous production in the Netherlands before making his American debut in Nighthawks in 1981. The following year brought Blade Runner, and soon Hauer would find himself firmly ensconced in genre filmmaking in everything from Ladyhawke to The Hitcher to the film version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

He worked with Dario Argento playing the legendary vampire hunter Van Helsing in Dracula 3D and later appeared on HBO’s True Blood as Niall Brigant, a fairy king and grandfather to Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin).

Off screen, Hauer devoted himself to environmental causes supporting Greenpeace and other organizations that were working to protect the natural world from encroaching industrialism. He also created the Starfish Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to global AIDS awareness.

iHorror sends our deepest condolences to his wife of 50 years Ineke ten Kate and his daughter, Ayesha Hauer.