RIP Dennis Hopper
Hopper was best known for his role in Easy Rider (1969) but had a long career in the business, which spanned both the big and small screens and many stage productions. He was also a prolific artist and had his work displayed in galleries around the world.
He first screen credit was in 1955 with a role in the TV series Medic but after several guest appearances in a variety of shows he made his first jump to the big screen alongside James Dean in the seminal Rebel Without A Cause. He and Dean became good friends and when the star died tragically early, Hopper took it very badly.
After studying with acting tutor Lee Strasberg, Hopper landed roles in Cool Hand Luke (1967) alongside Paul Newman and two westerns with John Wayne – The Sons Of Katie Elder (1965) and the iconic True Grit (1969)
It wasn’t until he wrote, starred and directed Easy Rider (1969) that his film career really started to lift off, which earned nominations for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Jack Nicholson in 1969. It was also the beginning of Hopper’s constant battle with drugs and alcohol which would come to play a prominent part in his life, even causing him to vanish from the mainstream for a number of years only to resurface as an insane photojournalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam masterpiece, Apocalypse Now (1979)
He again fell out of prominence for a number of years but a turn as Frank Booth in David Lynch’s surreal Blue Velvet (1986) brought him back to public attention once again and in the same year garnered another Oscar nomination for sports drama Hoosiers (1986). The 90s was a much quieter period for Hopper although he appeared in True Romance (1993) and provided memorable role as villains in Speed (1994) and the unfortunate budget black hole of Waterworld (1995).
In 2008 he contributed to the TV spin off of Crash (2004) and his voice to animated movie Alpha And Omega which will released later this year. In March, he was presented with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
Hopper was married five times and had five children. He had been ill with prostate cancer since last September and died peacefully at his home in Venice Beach surrounded by family and friends on Saturday morning.
He was a true legend of the silver screen who will be sadly missed.