By MICHAEL GINGOLD
The man who thumbed his way into our nightmares in the title role of THE HITCHER (pictured) and made an indelible impression in many other movies has died.
Various sources have reported the death of actor Rutger Hauer at age 75. The Dutch actor first broke out in the early films of Paul Verhoeven, most notably the Oscar-nominated TURKISH DELIGHT, and followed Verhoeven into the director’s first English-language film, 1985’s FLESH + BLOOD. He previously made his Hollywood debut as Euroterrorist Wulfgar, taking on New York cop Sylvester Stallone in NIGHTHAWKS, and then enacted one of his most famous characters, the replicant leader Roy Batty opposite Harrison Ford in Ridley Scott’s classic BLADE RUNNER.
In the horror field, Hauer created one of the all-time great psychopaths as the title character making life hell for C. Thomas Howell in Robert Harmon’s THE HITCHER. He also played a number of vampire roles, among them the villainous Lothos in the original BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER movie, Barlow in the 2004 made-for-TV adaptation of Stephen King’s ’SALEM’S LOT, Niall Brigant in HBO’s TRUE BLOOD and the Count himself in DRACULA III: LEGACY, as well as Abraham Van Helsing in Dario Argento’s 3D DRACULA. Among his other genre credits are SPLIT SECOND, the FRANKENSTEIN variation MR. STITCH, BLEEDERS, HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN and THE RITE.