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Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer dies at 75

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Dutch film actor Rutger Hauer, who specialised in menacing roles, including a memorable turn as a murderous android in Blade Runner opposite Harrison Ford, has died aged 75.

Hauer's agent, Steve Kenis, said on Wednesday the actor died on July 19 at his home in the Netherlands following a short illness.

Hauer's roles included a terrorist in Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone, Cardinal Roark in Sin City and playing an evil corporate executive in Batman Begins.

He was in the big-budget 1985 fantasy Ladyhawke, portrayed a menacing hitchhiker who's picked up by a murderer in the Mojave Desert in The Hitcher and won a supporting-actor Golden Globe award in 1988 for Escape from Sobibor.

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro in a tweet called Hauer "an intense, deep, genuine and magnetic actor that brought truth, power and beauty to his films".

Gene Simmons, the KISS bassist who starred opposite Hauer in Wanted: Dead or Alive, described his former co-star as "always a gentleman, kind and compassionate".

In Blade Runner, Hauer played the murderous replicant Roy Batty on a desperate quest to prolong his artificially shortened life in post-apocalyptic, 21st-century Los Angeles.

In his dying, rain-soaked soliloquy, he looked back at his extraordinary existence. "All those moments will be lost in time. Like tears in rain. Time to die," he said.

"It's so much fun to playfully roam into the dark side of the soul and tease people," the actor told the Associated Press in 1987.

Hauer's ruggedly handsome face, blue eyes and strong physique drew the attention of American producers in such international successes as Turkish Delight, Spetters and Soldier of Orange.

Hauer was born in the Netherlands village of Breukelen. His parents were actors but he had little concentration for school and at 15 ran away as a seaman on a freighter.

After that and a stint in the army, his parents decided he was destined to follow the family profession so Rutger enrolled in acting school.

Hauer spent five years with a small troupe before making his film debut in the saucy Turkish Delight, which was nominated for an Oscar as best foreign language film of 1973.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ineke ten Cate, and a daughter, actress Aysha Hauer, from a previous marriage.

© RAW 2019 Photo credit: EPA/REMKO DE WAAL