Hollywood rebel lost his fight with cancer
Published 31/05/2010 | 05:00
DENNIS Hopper has died at age 74 after a battle with prostate cancer.
Hopper, who was twice nominated for Oscars and earned a star this year on the Walk of Fame, died on Saturday at his home in the Venice neighbourhood of Los Angeles.
"We rode the highways of America and changed the way movies were made in Hollywood," Peter Fonda, his 'Easy Rider' co-star said. "I was blessed by his passion and friendship."
The success of 'Easy Rider' and failure of his next film, 'The Last Movie', seemed to fit the pattern for the talented but wild Hopper, who also had parts in such favourites as 'Rebel Without a Cause', 'Apocalypse Now', 'Blue Velvet' and 'Hoosiers'.
Other tributes were posted on celebrities' websites and Twitter feeds.
"So long Dennis," actress Virginia Madsen, who starred in the Hopper-directed 'The Hot Spot', said on her Twitter page. "U taught me so much."
After a promising start that included roles in two James Dean films, Hopper's acting career languished as he developed a reputation for tantrums and drug abuse.
On the set of 'True Grit', Hopper so angered John Wayne that the star reportedly chased Hopper with a loaded gun.
"Much of Hollywood," wrote critic-historian David Thomson, "found Hopper a pain in the neck."
All was forgiven when he collaborated with Fonda on a script about two pot-smoking, drug-dealing hippies on a cross-country motorcycle trip.
"'Easy Rider' was never a motorcycle movie to me," Hopper said in 2009. "A lot of it was about politically what was going on in the country." Fonda produced 'Easy Rider' and Hopper directed it for just $380,000. It went on to gross $40m worldwide -- a substantial sum for its time.
"Work is fun to me," Hopper told a reporter in 1991. "All those years of being an actor and a director and not being able to get a job -- two weeks is too long to not know what my next job will be."