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Dennis Hopper

Actor, Film Director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter
© Georges Biard
Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 ]
Dennis Lee Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010) was an American actor, filmmaker, photographer and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1954 and appeared in two films featuring James Dean,Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). During the next 10 years, Hopper appeared frequently on television in guest roles, and by the end of the 1960s had played supporting roles in several films. He directed and starred in Easy Rider (1969), winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as co-writer. Journalist Ann Hornaday wrote: "With its portrait of counterculture heroes raising their middle fingers to the uptight middle-class hypocrisies, Easy Rider became the cinematic symbol of the 1960s, a celluloid anthem to freedom, macho bravado and anti-establishment rebellion." Film critic Matthew Hays notes that "no other persona better signifies the lost idealism of the 1960s than that of Dennis Hopper." He was unable to build on his success for several years, until a featured role he played, that of the American Photojournalist in Apocalypse Now (1979), brought him attention. He subsequently appeared in Rumble Fish (1983) and The Osterman Weekend (1983), and received critical recognition for his work in Blue Velvet and Hoosiers, with the latter film garnering him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He directed Colors (1988), played the lead character named after the movie title in Paris Trout, and played the villain in Speed (1994). He played another villain, King Koopa, in Super Mario Bros. (1993). Hopper also played heroes, such as John Canyon in Space Truckers. Hopper's later work included a leading role in the television series Crash. Hopper's last performance was filmed just before his death: The Last Film Festival, originally slated for a 2011 release. Hopper also began a prolific and acclaimed photography career in the 1960s. --- Hopper was born in Dodge City, Kansas, the son of Marjorie Mae (née Davis, July 12, 1917 - January 12, 2007) and James Millard Hopper (June 23, 1916 – August 7, 1982). He had Scottish ancestors. Hopper had two brothers, Marvin and David. After World War II, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where the young Hopper attended Saturday art classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. At the age of 13, Hopper and his family moved to San Diego, where his mother worked as a lifeguard instructor and his father was a post office manager (Hopper has acknowledged, though, that his father was in the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, in China with Mao Zedong). Hopper was voted most likely to succeed at Helix High School, where he was active in the drama club, speech and choir. It was there that he developed an interest in acting, studying at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, and the Actors Studio in New York City (he studied with Lee Strasberg for five years). Hopper struck up a friendship with actor Vincent Price, whose passion for art influenced Hopper's interest in art. He was especially fond of the plays of William Shakespeare. --- Hopper was reported to have an uncredited role in Johnny Guitar in 1954 but he has stated that he was not even in Hollywood when this film was made. Hopper made his debut on film in two roles with James Dean (whom he admired immensely) in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). Dean's death in a 1955 car accident affected the young Hopper deeply and it was shortly afterwards that he got into a confrontation with veteran director Henry Hathaway on the film From Hell To Texas. Hopper refused directions for 80 takes over several days. In his book Last Train to Memphis, American popular music historian Peter Guralnick says that in 1956, when Elvis Presley was making his first film in Hollywood, Hopper was roommates with fellow actor Nick Adams and the three became friends and socialized together. In 1959 Hopper moved to New York to study Method acting under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. In 1961, Hopper played his first lead role in Night Tide, an atmospheric supernatural thriller involving a mermaid in an amusement park. In a December 1994 interview on the Charlie Rose Show, Hopper credited John Wayne with saving his career, as Hopper acknowledged that because of his insolent behavior, he could not find work in Hollywood for seven years. Hopper stated that because he was the son-in-law of actress Margaret Sullavan, a friend of John Wayne, Wayne hired Hopper for a role in The Sons of Katie Elder. This role enabled Hopper to begin making movies again. --- According to Rolling Stone magazine, he was "one of Hollywood's most notorious drug addicts" for 20 years. He spent much of the 1970s and early 1980s living as "an outcast" in a small town after the success of Easy Rider. Hopper was also "notorious for his troubled relationships with women," including Michelle Phillips, who divorced him after fewer than two weeks of marriage. Hopper was married five times in total — he was in the process of divorcing Victoria Duffy, his wife of 14 years, at the time of his death. --- On September 28, 2009, Hopper, then 73, was reportedly brought into an unidentified Manhattan hospital by an ambulance wearing an oxygen mask and “with numerous tubes visible.” On October 2, he was discharged, after receiving treatment for dehydration. On October 29, Hopper's manager reported that Hopper had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. In January 2010, it was reported that Hopper's cancer had metastasized to his bones. On March 18, 2010, he was honored with the 2,403rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of Grauman's Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Surrounded by friends including Jack Nicholson, Viggo Mortensen, David Lynch, Michael Madsen, family and fans, he attended its addition to the sidewalk six days later. As of March 23, 2010, Hopper reportedly weighed only 100 pounds (45 kg) and was unable to carry on long conversations. According to papers filed in his divorce court case, Hopper was terminally ill and was unable to undergo chemotherapy to treat his prostate cancer. Hopper died at his home in the coastal Los Angeles district of Venice on the morning of May 29, 2010 at the age of 74, due to complications from prostate cancer. Hopper's funeral took place on June 3, 2010 at San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. He was buried in Jesus Nazareno Cemetery, Ranchos de Taos. The film Alpha and Omega, which was his last movie role, was dedicated to him; as was the 2011 film Restless, which starred his son Henry Hopper.

Wikipedia ]

Born
Dennis Lee Hopper
May 17, 1936
Date of Death
May 29, 2010 (age 74)
Profession
Actor, Film Director, Photographer, Artist, Screenwriter
Spouse
Brooke Hayward
Parents
Marjorie Mae Davis, James Millard Hopper
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