Kier's career took off in the early 70's, when he was cast in both Andy Warhol's Dracula and Andy Warhol's Frankenstein. Even though these were some of his first movies, he was instantly transformed into a cult figure. Many of his subsequent roles would cement this reputation, whether or not these were "cult" films. You see, Kier has a particular style of acting which is unique to him - as do virtually all great actors. His roles seem to exude a certain sexually-charged, humorous, uber-quirky...."Germanness". And these traits comprise his aura.
Here's a rundown of some of his more famous movies: Suspiria, My Own Private Idaho, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Barb Wire, Armageddon, Blade, and Shadow of the Vampire. He has also been in many Lars Von Trier films, which is certainly a boon in my book. Like many character actors, he works a lot. For whatever reason, though, he doesn't really snag many juicy Hollywood roles that can really show off what he can do. Such is the plight of many of our Bourbon toastees. But come on people, he was featured both in Madonna's book SEX and in her music video for "Deeper and Deeper."