Date of Birth: January 23rd 1944
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 drama classes at night school. He went on to join an experimental acting troupe, which he stayed with for five years before getting the lead role in the very successful 1969 television series Floris, a Dutch Ivanhoe-like medieval action show, which made his name in the Netherlands.
His 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 hardly enough to establish him in Hollywood's eyes, and he returned to Dutch film making for several years. In this period he made Katie Tippel (1975), and worked again with Verhoeven on Soldier of Orange (1979), and Spetters (1980). Incidentally these two films also paired Hauer with fellow international Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbé.
It was in the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Nighthawks (1981) that Hauer finally made his American debut. Cast as a psychopathic, cold-blooded terrorist named "Wolfgar" (after a character in Beowulf}, he made a strong impression. This was confirmed the following year by his stand-out American movie role as the eccentric, violent, yet sensitive chief replicant Roy Batty (pitted against Harrison Ford) in Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi thriller, Blade Runner.