Rutger Oelsen Hauer (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrʏtxər ˈulsə(n) ˈɦʌuwər]; English pronunciation: /ˈrʌtɡər ˈhaʊər/; born 23 January 1944) is a Dutch stage, television and film actor. His career began in 1969 with the title role in the popular Dutch television series "Floris", directed by Paul Verhoeven. His film credits include Flesh + Blood, Blind Fury, Blade Runner, The Hitcher, Nighthawks, Sin City, Ladyhawke, The Blood of Heroes, and Batman Begins.
Hauer is a dedicated environmentalist and has founded an AIDS awareness organization, the Rutger Hauer Starfish Foundation.
He is the father of actress Aysha Hauer and the grandfather of fashion model Leandro Maeder.
Hauer was born in Breukelen, Netherlands, to drama teachers Arend and Teunke, and grew up in Amsterdam. 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 Paul Verhoeven cast him in the lead role of the very successful 1969 television series Floris, a Dutch Ivanhoe-like medieval action drama. The role made him famous in his native country.
Hauer's career changed course when 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 Hollywood, 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.
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