Jump to content

Farewell Dennis Hopper

Recommended Posts



Dennis Lee Hopper (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010) was an American actor, filmmaker 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 1955, and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). Over the next ten 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 of the film's script.


He was unable to build on his success for several years, until a featured role 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 gaining him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He directed Colors (1988), and played the villain in Speed (1994). Hopper's later work included a leading role in the television series Crash.


Hopper was born in Dodge City, Kansas, the son of Marjorie Mae (née Davis, died 2006) and Jay Millard Hopper (June 1916 – August[3] 1982).


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 taught by Thomas Hart Benton. 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 OSS, the precursor to the CIA).[5] Hopper was voted most likely to succeed by his high school class (Helix High School, La Mesa, California, a suburb of San Diego). It was there he developed an interest in acting, studying at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California and the Actors Studio in New York City (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. He discussed his youth, early career, and training, during an interview for the "Actor's Studio" in 1994: watch.


In film Easy Rider (1969)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.[6] Hopper made his debut on film cast 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 eighty 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. Hopper moved to New York and studied at Lee Strasberg's acting school.


Hopper had a supporting role as "Babalugats," the bet-taker in Cool Hand Luke (1967). Hopper acted in mainstream films including The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) and True Grit (1969). Both of these films starred John Wayne, and in both Hopper's character is killed. During the production of True Grit, he became well acquainted with Wayne.


In 1969, Hopper teamed with Peter Fonda, Terry Southern, and Jack Nicholson to make Easy Rider. Hopper won wide acclaim as the director for his improvisational methods and innovative editing. The production was plagued by creative differences and personal acrimony between Fonda and Hopper, the dissolution of Hopper's marriage to Hayward, his unwillingness to leave the editor's desk, and his accelerating abuse of drugs and alcohol.


In 1971, Hopper released The Last Movie. Expecting an accessible follow-up to Easy Rider, audiences were treated to artistic flourishes (the inclusion of "scene missing" cards) and a hazily existentialist plot that dabbled in non-linearity and the absurd. After finishing first at the Venice Film Festival, the film was dismissed by audiences and critics alike during its first domestic engagement in New York City. During the tumultuous editing process, Hopper ensconced himself in Taos, New Mexico for almost an entire year. In between contesting Fonda's rights to the majority of the residual profits from Easy Rider, he married Michelle Phillips in October 1970. Citing spousal abuse and his various addictions, she filed for divorce a week after their wedding.


Hopper was able to sustain his lifestyle and a measure of celebrity by acting in numerous low budget and European films throughout the 1970s as the archetypical "tormented maniac", including Mad Dog Morgan (1976), Tracks (1976), and The American Friend (1977). With Francis Ford Coppola's blockbuster Apocalypse Now (1979), Hopper returned to prominence as a hypomanic Vietnam-era photojournalist. Stepping in for an overwhelmed director, Hopper won praise in 1980 for his directing and acting in Out of the Blue. Immediately thereafter, Hopper starred as an addled short-order cook "Cracker" in the Neil Young/Dean Stockwell low-budget collaboration Human Highway. Production was reportedly often delayed by his unreliable behavior. Peter Biskind states in the New Hollywood history Easy Riders, Raging Bulls that Hopper's cocaine intake had reached three grams a day by this time period, complemented by an additional thirty beers, marijuana, and Cuba libres.



Hopper with Jack Nicholson at the 62nd Academy Awards in 1990.After staging a "suicide attempt" (really more of a daredevil act) in a coffin using 17 sticks of dynamite during an "art happening" at the Rice University Media Center (reportedly filmed by film professor Brian Huberman) and later disappearing into the Mexican desert during a particularly extravagant bender, Hopper entered a drug rehabilitation program in 1983. During this period, he gave critically-acclaimed performances in Rumble Fish (1983) and The Osterman Weekend (1983).


It was not until he portrayed the gas-huffing, obscenity-screaming iconic villain Frank Booth in David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) that his career revived. After reading the script, Hopper called Lynch and told him "You have to let me play Frank Booth. Because I am Frank Booth!"[7] Hopper won critical acclaim and several awards for this role and the same year received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Hoosiers.


In 1988, Hopper directed the critically-acclaimed Colors. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for the 1991 HBO films Paris Trout and Doublecrossed (in which he played real life drug smuggler and DEA informant Barry Seal). He starred as King Koopa in Super Mario Bros., a 1993 critical and commercial failure loosely based on the video game of the same name.[6] Despite the failure of the film, it led to several villainous roles in the following years.[citation needed] He co-starred in the 1994 blockbuster Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.


In 1995, Hopper played a greedy TV self help guru, Dr. Luther Waxling in Search and Destroy. The same year, he starred as Deacon, the one-eyed nemesis of Kevin Costner in Waterworld. In 2003, Hopper was in the running for the dual lead in the indie horror drama Firecracker, but was ousted at the last minute in favor of Mike Patton. His last major feature film appearance was in the 2008 film Elegy with Sir Ben Kingsley, Penélope Cruz and Debbie Harry.


Hopper debuted in an episode of the Richard Boone television series Medic in 1955, portraying a young epileptic.


He appeared as an arrogant young gunfighter, the Utah Kid, in the 1956 episode "Quicksand" of the first hour-long television western television series, ABC's Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker. In the story line, the Kid gave Cheyenne Bodie no choice but to kill him in a gunfight.


He subsequently appeared in over 140 episodes of television shows such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Petticoat Junction, The Twilight Zone, The Barbara Stanwyck Show, The Defenders, The Investigators, The Legend of Jesse James, The Big Valley, The Time Tunnel, The Rifleman[8] and Combat!.


Hopper teamed with Nike in the early 1990s to make a series of television commercials. He appeared as a "crazed referee" in those ads. He portrayed villain Victor Drazen in the first season of the popular drama 24 on the Fox television network.


Hopper starred in the NBC 2005 television series E-Ring, a drama set at The Pentagon, but the series was cancelled after fourteen episodes aired in the USA. Hopper appeared in all 22 episodes that were filmed. He also played the part of record producer Ben Cendars in the Starz television series Crash.


Hopper also did a cameo as himself in a 2007 episode of Entourage on HBO.


Hopper was a prolific photographer, painter, and sculptor. His photography is known for portraits from the 1960s. His painting style ranges from abstract impressionism to photorealism and often includes references to his cinematic work and to other artists.[9]


Ostracized by the Hollywood film studios due to his reputation for being a "difficult" actor, Hopper eventually turned to photography in the 1960s with a camera bought for him by his first wife, Brooke Hayward. During this period he created the cover art for the Ike & Tina Turner album River Deep – Mountain High (released in 1966).


Hopper became a prolific photographer, and noted writer Terry Southern profiled Hopper in Better Homes and Gardens magazine as an up and coming photographer "to watch" in the mid 1960s.


He began working as a painter and a poet as well as a collector of art in the 1960s as well, particularly Pop Art. One of the first art works Hopper owned was an early print of Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans bought for $75.


On March 30, 2010, it was announced that Hopper was on the "short list" for Jeffrey Deitch's inaugural show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).


On April 15, 2010, Deitch confirmed that Hopper's work, curated by Julian Schnabel, will indeed be the focus of his debut at MOCA.


On May 14, 2010, it was announced that Hopper's wide-ranging career and place in American popular culture in art, music, photography and film will be the subject of an upcoming biography by American writer Tom Folsom, Hopper: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.[13] The subtitle is a direct reference to the Hunter S. Thompson book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.


Hopper married five times and had four children:


Brooke Hayward (born 1937), daughter of Leland Hayward and Margaret Sullavan; married 1961 – divorced 1969, 1 child, daughter Marin Hopper (born on June 26, 1962)

Michelle Phillips (born 1944); married 31 October 1970 – divorced 8 November 1970

Daria Halprin (born 1948); married 1972 – divorced 1976, 1 child, daughter Ruthanna Hopper (born circa 1974)

Katherine LaNasa (born 1966); married June 17, 1989 – divorced April 1992, 1 child, son Henry Lee Hopper (born on September 11, 1990)

Victoria Duffy (born 1968); married April 13, 1996 – separated January 12, 2010,[15] 1 child, daughter Galen Grier Hopper (born on March 26, 2003)

Hopper had two granddaughters, Violet Goldstone and Ella Brill.


In 1999, actor Rip Torn filed a defamation lawsuit against Hopper over a story Hopper told on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Hopper claimed that Torn pulled a knife on him during pre-production of the film Easy Rider. According to Hopper, Torn was originally cast in the film but was replaced with Jack Nicholson after the incident. According to Torn's suit, it was actually Hopper who pulled the knife on him. A judge ruled in Torn's favor and Hopper was ordered to pay US$475,000 in damages. Hopper then appealed but the judge again ruled in Torn's favor and Hopper was required to pay another US$475,000 in punitive damages.


According to Newsmeat, Hopper donated US$2,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2004 and an equal amount in 2005. In Al Franken's book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, the author recounts a warm, cordial encounter between Hopper and then-Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.


In 2008, Hopper starred in An American Carol, a right-leaning comedy, with Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammer, and James Woods.


At the time of his death, Hopper was living in Venice, California and owned property in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Hopper has been honored with the rank of commander of France's National Order of Arts and Letters, at a ceremony in Paris.


Hopper supported Barack Obama in the 2008 US Presidential election.[20] Hopper confirmed this in an election day appearance on the ABC daytime show The View. He said his reason for not voting Republican was the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate.


On January 14, 2010, he filed for divorce from his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy.[22] After citing her "outrageous conduct" and stating Duffy was "insane," "inhuman" and "volatile," Hopper was granted a restraining order against her on February 11, 2010, and as a result, she has been forbidden to come within 10 feet of him or contact him.[23] On March 9, 2010, Duffy refused to move out of the Hopper home, despite the court's order that she do so by March 15.


On March 23, 2010, Hopper filed papers in court alleging Duffy had absconded with $1.5 million of his art, refused his requests to return it, and then had "left town." In March 2010, a judge ruled that Duffy must stay at least 10 feet away from Hopper.


On April 5, 2010, a court ruled that Duffy can continue living on Hopper's property, and that he must pay $12,000 per month spousal and child support for their daughter Galen. Hopper did not attend the hearing.[27] On May 12, 2010, a hearing was held in front of Judge Amy Pellman in downtown Los Angeles Superior Court to decide who to designate on Hopper's life insurance policy which currently lists his wife as beneficiary. A very ill Hopper did not appear in court though his estranged wife did – case BD518046. The judge ruled that the policy should not be changed at present.


Illness and death

On September 30, 2009, news media reported that Hopper had been rushed to a New York hospital for an unspecified condition. Hopper, 73, was reportedly brought into an unidentified Manhattan hospital by an ambulance on Monday 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 has been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. In January 2010, it was reported that Hopper's cancer had metastasized to his bones.


As of March 23, 2010, Hopper reportedly weighed only 100 pounds 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. His lawyer reported on March 25 that he was dying from cancer.


Hopper died at his home in the coastal Los Angeles suburb of Venice at 8:15 a.m. PDT (15:15 p.m. GMT) on May 29, 2010, surrounded by family and friends, of complications from prostate cancer.


Hollywood Walk of Fame


Hopper at a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March 2010On March 18, 2010, it was announced that Hopper would be honored with the 2,403rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in front of the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.[38] Surrounded by friends including Jack Nicholson, Viggo Mortensen, David Lynch, Michael Madsen, family, and fans, he attended its addition to the sidewalk on March 26, 2010.


On the Gorillaz album Demon Days, Hopper is the narrator of the song "Fire Coming out of the Monkey's Head."




Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

I Died a Thousand Times (1955)

Giant (1956)

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957)

The Story of Mankind (1957)

Sayonara (1957) (voice only)

From Hell to Texas (1958)

The Young Land (1959)

Key Witness (1960)

Night Tide (1961)

Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of (1964)

The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)

Queen of Blood (1966)

The Trip (1967)

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

The Glory Stompers (1968)

Hang 'Em High (1968)

Panic in the City (1968)

Head (film) (1968) (Uncredited cameo)

Easy Rider (1969) (Director)

True Grit (1969)

The Festival Game (1970) (documentary)

The American Dreamer (1971) (documentary)

The Last Movie (1971) (Director)

The Other Side of the Wind (1972) (unfinished)

Crush Proof (1972)

Kid Blue (1973)

Tracks (1976)

Mad Dog Morgan (1976)

The American Friend (1977)

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1977)

Flesh Color (1978)

Last In, First Out (1978)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Bloodbath (1979)

Out of the Blue (1980) (Director)

Reborn (1981)

King of the Mountain (1981)

Neil Young: Human Highway (1982)

Rumble Fish (1983)

The Osterman Weekend (1983)

White Star (1983)

The Dynamite Coffin Stunt (1983)

Jungle Warriors (1984)

The Inside Man (1984)

My Science Project (1985)

Riders of the Storm (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

River's Edge (1986)

Blue Velvet (1986)

Hoosiers (1986)

Running Out of Luck (1987)

Black Widow (1987)

Straight to Hell (1987)

O.C. and Stiggs (1987)

The Pick-up Artist (1987)

Blood Red (1989)

Chattahoochee (1989)

Flashing on the Sixties, A Tribal Docment directed by Lisa Law (1989)

Flashback (1990)

Hollywood Mavericks (1990) (documentary)

Catchfire (1990) (Director)

Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol (1990) (documentary)

Motion & Emotion (1990) (documentary)

Sunset Heat (1991)

Paris Trout (1991)

Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991) (documentary)

Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (1991) (documentary)

The Indian Runner (1991)

Eye of the Storm (1991)

SnowwhiteRosered (1991) (documentary)

Nails (1992) (1992)

Red Rock West (1992)

The Revenge of the Dead Indians (1993)

Boiling Point (1993)

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

True Romance (1993)

Chasers (1994)

Speed (1994)

Search and Destroy (1995)

Waterworld (1995)

Cannes Man (1996)

Carried Away (1996)

Space Truckers (1996)

Basquiat (1996)

The Last Days of Frankie the Fly (1996)

Top of the World (1997)

The Good Life (1997)

The Blackout (1997)

Who Is Henry Jaglom? (1997) (documentary)

Road Ends (1997)

Black Dahlia (1998) (video game)

Michael Angel (1998)

Meet the Deedles (1998)

Tycus (1998)

Robert Rauschenberg: Inventive Genius (1999) (documentary) (narrator)

The Prophet's Game (1999)

Lured Innocence (1999)

The Source (1999) (documentary)

EDtv (1999)

Straight Shooter (1999)

Jesus' Son (1999)

The Venice Project (1999)

Bad City Blues (1999)

The Spreading Ground (2000)

Jason and the Argonauts (2000)

Luck of the Draw (2000)

Welcome to Hollywood (2000)

Held for Ransom (2000)

Ticker (2001)

Choke (2001)

Knockaround Guys (2001)

Jazz Seen: The Life and Times of William Claxton (2001) (documentary)

L.A.P.D.: To Protect and to Serve (2001)

1 Giant Leap (2002) (documentary)

I Don't Know Jack (2002) (documentary)

Unspeakable (2002)

Leo (2002)

Venice: Lost and Found (2002) (documentary)

The Piano Player (2002)

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood (2003) (documentary)

A Decade Under the Influence (2003) (documentary)

Dennis Hopper: Create (or Die) (2003) (documentary)

The Night We Called It a Day (2003)

Legacy (2004)

The Keeper (2004)

The Last Ride (2004)

Out of Season (2004)

Tell Them Who You Are (2004) (documentary)

Inside Deep Throat (2005) (documentary) (narrator)

House of 9 (2005)

Hoboken Hollow (2005)

Americano (2005)

Land of the Dead (2005)

Going Through Splat: The Life and Work of Stewart Stern (2005) (documentary)

Champion (2005) (documentary)

The Crow: Wicked Prayer (2005)

Land of the Dead (2005)

Sketches of Frank Gehry (2005) (documentary)

Tainted Love (2006)

The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose (2006) (documentary)

Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi (2006) (documentary) (narrator)

10th & Wolf (2006)

Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film (2006) (documentary)

3055 Jean Leon (2006) (documentary)

Memory (2006)

By the Ways: A Journey with William Eggleston (2007) (documentary)

Hell Ride (2008)

Sleepwalking (2008)

Bananaz (2008) (documentary)

Elegy (2008)

Générations 68 (2008) (documentary)

Swing Vote (2008)

Chelsea on the Rocks (2008) (documentary)

Palermo Shooting (2008)

Ferlinghetti: A City Light (2008) (documentary)

An American Carol (2008)

The Brothers Warner (2008) (documentary)

No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos (2008) (documentary)

Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero (2008) (documentary)

The Last Film Festival (2009)

Forever (2009)

Deadly Creatures (2009) (video game)


Alpha and Omega (2010, to be released posthumously)

Short subjects

The Thirteen Most Beautiful Boys (1964)

Screen Test#1 (1965)

Screen Test#2 (1965)

Screen Test#3 (1966)

Screen Test#4 (1966)

Luke (1967)

A Hero of Our Time (1985)

New Scenes from America (2003)


Academy Awards


(1970) Nominated – Best Original Screenplay / Easy Rider (shared with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern)

(1987) Nominated – Best Supporting Actor / Hoosiers

Golden Globe Awards


(1987) Nominated – Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture / Hoosiers

(1987) Nominated – Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture / Blue Velvet

Primetime Emmy Awards


(1991) Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor - Miniseries or a Movie / Paris Trout

Cannes Film Festival Awards


(1969) Won – Best First Work Award / Easy Rider

(1969) Nominated – Palme d'Or / Easy Rider

(1980) Nominated – Palme d'Or / Out of the Blue

Directors Guild of America Award


(1970) Nominated - Outstanding Directing - Feature Film / Easy Rider

Independent Spirit Awards


(1987) Nominated - Best Male Lead / Blue Velvet

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards


(1987) Won - Best Supporting Actor / Blue Velvet

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards


(1987) Won - Best Supporting Actor / Blue Velvet & Hoosiers

MTV Movie Awards


(1995) Won - Best Villain / Speed

National Society of Film Critics Awards


(1970) Won - Special Award ("For the director, co-writer and co-star") / Easy Rider

(1987) Won - Best Supporting Actor / Blue Velvet

Writers Guild of America Award


(1970) Nominated - Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen / Easy Rider (shared with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern)

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great actor and multi talented person.RIP

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest =limes=

He wasnt that popular in germany, but its always sad to see people dying on f***ing cancer no matter if famous or not! So RIP, Dennis!

Edited by =limes=

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

RIP Poor man.. :(


But geeze whats with you and your novel of a posts?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

For all good men must pass, but not without leaving something. Dennis left a legacy of production for all to gaze at. The man was good at what he did and he had a good heart and mind in doing it. He will be missed.:cry


*moment of silence*




He will rest in piece but live in everything he has accomplished.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Really liked him, to bad he passed away!RIP

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

RIP Poor man.. :(


But geeze whats with you and your novel of a posts?


I don't know. Getting old I guess.


Actually I just copied the damn thing from Wikipedia.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, couldnt you just get the IMPORTANT stuff? ):

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now