Rutger Hauer dead at age 75 after short illness

Rutger Hauer in Dortmund, Germany
Dutch actor Rutger Hauer at the Weekend from Hell film festival in Dortmund, Germany. 3 Nov. 2018Photo: mwissmann / DepositPhotos

Famed Dutch actor Rutger Hauer was pronounced dead on Friday in his hometown of Beetsterzwaag, Friesland, a representative for his family said to newswire ANP. The Golden Globe-winning actor was 75 years old.

Hauer passed away after a brief illness. A small, private funeral took place earlier on Wednesday before his death was publicly revealed later in the evening.

Of his 50-year career in film and television, he is perhaps best known for his portrayal of the android Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner. He then had a string of action successes through the 1980s, including Blind Fury, The Hitcher, and Wanted: Dead or Alive.

He won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a televised performance for his work on Escape from Sobibor. He played Lieutenant Aleksandr 'Sasha' Pechersky in the 1987 British film based on the true story of an uprising and escape at the Nazi extermination camp during World War II.

The actor was also nominated for the Best Actor Golden Globe in 1995, for the previous year's HBO film Fatherland. He won the Golden Calf twice at the Netherlands Film Festival, and was given the Rembrandt Award for the Heineken Kidnapping.

Born in Breukelen, Utrecht, Hauer ran off from home when he was a teenager to work on freight ships at sea. He was later trained in the Dutch military as a medic, but left the service after a few months. He completed his acting studies in the mid-1960s and took to the stage.

Dutch director Paul Verhoeven is credited with discovering Hauer, casting him in Floris in 1969. Verhoeven cast him again in Turkish Delight, a popular 1973 adaptation of a book by Jan Wolkers.

Verhoeven cast Hauer again in 1977's Soldaat van Oranje, alongside Jeroen Krabbé. It was this film which led to him getting more attention internationally, according to Variety.

Hauer is survived by his wife of several decades, Ineke ten Cate, and actress Aysha Hauer, his 52-year-old daughter from his first marriage to pianist Heidi Merz.