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Rutger Oelsen Hauer ( ; born 23 January 1944) is a Golden Globe–winning Dutchmarker film actor. He is well known for his roles in Blind Fury, Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Nighthawks, Sin City, Ladyhawke, The Blood of Heroes and Batman Begins.

Early life

Hauer was born in Breukelenmarker, Netherlandsmarker, to drama teachers Arend and Teunke, and grew up in Amsterdammarker. Since his parents were very occupied with their careers, he and his three sisters (one older, two younger) were raised mostly by nannies. At the age of 15, Hauer ran off to sea and spent a year scrubbing decks aboard a freighter. Returning home, he worked as an electrician and a carpenter for three years while attending acting classes at night school. He went on to join an experimental troupe, with which he remained for five years before he was cast in the lead role in the very successful 1969 television series Floris, a Dutch Ivanhoe-like medieval action drama. The role made him famous in his native country.

Film career

Hauer's career changed course when director Paul Verhoeven cast him as the lead in Turkish Delight (1973) (based on the Jan Wolkers book of the same name). The movie found box-office favour abroad as well as at home, and within two years, its star was invited to make his English-language debut in the British film The Wilby Conspiracy (1975). Set in South Africa and starring Michael Caine and Sidney Poitier, the film was an action melodrama with a focus on apartheid. Hauer's supporting role, however, was barely noticed in Hollywoodmarker, and he returned to Dutch films for several years. During this period, he made Katie Tippel (1975) and worked again with Verhoeven on Soldier of Orange (1977), and Spetters (1980). These two films paired Hauer with fellow Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbé.

Hauer made his American debut in the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Nighthawks (1981), cast as a psychopathic and cold-blooded terrorist named "Wolfgar" (after a character in the Old English poem Beowulf). The following year, he appeared in arguably his most famous and acclaimed role as the eccentric, violent, yet sympathetic replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi thriller, Blade Runner.

Hauer went on to play the adventurer courting Gene Hackman's daughter (Theresa Russell) in Nicolas Roeg's poorly received Eureka (1983); the investigative reporter opposite John Hurt in Sam Peckinpah's The Osterman Weekend (1983); the hardened Landsknecht mercenary Martin in Flesh & Blood (1985); and the knight paired with Michelle Pfeiffer in the Medieval romance Ladyhawke (1985). He continued to make an impression on audiences in The Hitcher (1986), in which he was the mysterious Hitchhiker intent on murdering C. Thomas Howell's lone motorist and anyone else who crossed his path. At the height of Hauer's fame, he was even set to be cast as RoboCop in the film directed by old friend Verhoeven, although the role ultimately went to Peter Weller. That same year, however, Hauer starred as Nick Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive as the descendant of the character played by Steve McQueen in the television series of the same name.

Italian director Ermanno Olmi mined the gentler, more mystic and soulful side of Hauer's personality in The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1989), the story of a lost soul who dies of drink in Parismarker while attempting to pay a debt of honour in a church. Phillip Noyce also attempted to capitalize, with far less success, on Hauer's spiritual qualities in the martial arts action adventure Blind Fury (1989). Hauer returned to science fiction opposite Joan Chen with Salute of the Jugger (1990), in which he played a former champion in a post-apocalyptic world. And The Rose and The Sword (1988) He and Chen would work together again in two more science fiction films, Wedlock and Precious Find.

By the 1990s, Hauer was as well known for his humorous appearances in Guinness commercials as for his screen roles, which had increasingly involved low-budget films, including Split Second, which was set in a flooded Londonmarker after global warming; Omega Doom, another post-apocalyptic story in which he plays a soldier-robot; and New World Disorder, opposite Tara Fitzgerald. He also appeared in the Kylie Minogue music video "On a Night Like This". In the late 1980s and 1990s, as well as in 2000, Hauer acted in several British and American television productions, including Inside the Third Reich (as Albert Speer); Escape from Sobibor; Fatherland; Hostile Waters; Merlin; The 10th Kingdom; Smallville; Alias; and 'Salem's Lot.

In 1999, Hauer was awarded the Dutch “Best Actor of the Century Rembrandt Award”.

Hauer played an assassin in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2003), a villainous cardinal with influential power in Sin City (2005) and Batman Begins (2005), playing a devious corporate executive running Wayne Enterprises and the Host in the Britishmarker reality television documentary Shock Treatment (2005). He recently starred in Goal! 2: Living the Dream... as Real Madrid coach Rudi Van Der Merwe.

In 2009 his role in Dazzle (Oogverblindend), by avantgarde filmmaker Cyrus Frisch, received raving reviews. The film was praised in Dutch press as "the most relevant Dutch film of the year" (Parool). The same year Hauer starred in the title role of Barbarossa an Italian film directed by Renzo Martinelli. It co-starred Israeli actor Raz Degan.

Personal life

Hauer is a dedicated environmentalist. He fought for the release of Greenpeace's co-founder, Paul Watson, who was convicted in 1994 for sinking a Norwegian whaling vessel. Hauer has also established an AIDS awareness foundation called the Rutger Hauer Starfish Foundation. He married his second wife, Ineke, in 1985 (they had been together since 1968); and he has one child, actress Aysha Hauer, who was born in 1966 and who made him a grandfather in 1988.

In April 2007, he published his autobiography All Those Moments: Stories of Heroes, Villains, Replicants, and Blade Runners (co-written with Patrick Quinlan) where he discusses many of his movie roles. Proceeds of the book go to Hauer's Starfish Foundation.




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