Credit: Frazer Harrison and Kevin Winter/Getty Images Photo: Rutger Hauer at the True Blood Season 6 Premiere on June 11, 2013

Joining True Blood Season 6 this year, Rutger Hauer is a Dutch actor with an expansive career and range. His distinctive good looks and purposeful way of chillingly delivering lines that make him a natural for playing intriguing baddies. Interview with a Vampire author Anne Rice has even said that Hauer was her inspiration for the vampire Lestat while she was writing the books.

The handsome blue-eyed, blonde-haired actor is 6”1, and was born 1944 in the Netherlands to touring actors. He is rumored to have been a bit rebellious during his teenage years, running away to work on a freighter at the age of 15. Rutger’s career choices ranged from sailor to poet, and he even dropped out of acting school to join the Army, but he soon quit and went back to learn more about his craft.

Rutger’s acting career was launched in 1969, when he snagged the starring role in Paul Verhoeven’s popular TV Show, Floris, but he didn’t catch the attention of American audiences until the 1980s, when he appeared in Nighthawks (1981) with Sylvester Stallone, and splashed into notoriety by playing fan favorite Roy Batty, a murderous replicant in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).

He also managed to capture a few hearts in the medieval fantasy Ladyhawke (1985) playing Captain Navarre, a mysterious man who travels the countryside with his true love, Lady Isabeau. The two are doomed lovers cursed by a jealous bishop: By day, Isabeau must live as a hawk, and by night, Navarre sprouts fur and fangs as a wolf. It’s one of Hauer’s only leading romantic roles, and he plays it with brooding intensity.

Credit: HBO/John P. Johnson Photo: Rutger Hauer as Niall Brigant

Taking on a very different acting role that same year, Rutger terrorized C. Thomas Howell — and audiences — as a psychotic drifter in The Hitcher where he also did his own dangerous stunts, which led to more action-adventure films like Wanted: Dead or Alive and Blind Fury. Hauer also garnered critical acclaim in 1988 for his role in The Legend of the Holy Drinker (Golden Lion winner, Venice Film Festival), which won him a Best Actor award at the Seattle International Film Festival.

In 1992, Hauer played the vampire Lothos in the Joss Whedon-penned comedy Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui), showing us his more humorous side and perhaps poking a little fun at his serious reputation.

Rutger continued to act in both TV and film over the next several decades, scoring a memorable role in Sin City (2005) as the evil and corrupt Cardinal Roark, and again poked fun at himself and the grindhouse action genre as the “Hobo” in Hobo with a Shotgun, a 2011 film based on a fake trailer made by Director Robert Rodriguez. He also plays Abraham Van Helsing in Italian horror maestro Dario Argento’s version of Dracula (2012).

In addition to his impressive acting resume, Hauer teamed up with INHOLLAND University Rotterdam and Rotterdam Media Fund in 2006 6o create The Rutger Hauer Film Factory: a foundation where Rutger teaches digital filmmaking masterclasses to both pros and students. Their goal is to organize Rutger Hauer masterclasses all over the world, because, as Hauer is quoted, What I want is to rediscover my profession, and filmmakers are the only ones who can communicate that with all their heart and soul.”

We’re happy Rutger is still thrilling audiences, and are excited to see how he thrills us with his dual roles on Season 6 of True Blood!

Sources: IMDBRutger Hauer Film FactoryRutgerHauer.org