Rutger Hauer, like his greatest and most memorable creation, has died in 2019.
Roy Batty alone would be enough to cement Hauer as an actor with a stunning legacy; an apparently simple character given layers of depth and honesty rarely equalled in cinema – an achievement made all the more remarkable by his greatest moment being ad-libbed.
Batty was by no means his only creation; in an acting career which lasted decades and moved from Dutch independent cinema to Hollywood and back, he created murderous psychopaths, twisted businessmen and unlikely heroes all given life by a low voice as hard as steel, and piercing blue eyes.
He could convey horror and hate and fear or hope with a change of expression so subtle it barely registered or with a physicality which dominated the screen even against far more famous – and often better paid – actors.
But it is to Roy Batty that any recognition of Hauer’s life must return, and to one of the greatest moments of death in any story.
Because in a few moments Hauer showed in simple, timeless words and gestures that no matter how short life is, it is precious, and to be seized and valued for what it can be – and in the final analysis the greatest things are kindness and humanity.
What a legacy.