Dennis Hopper dies at the age of 74

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Dennis Hopper lost his battle with prostate cancer early Saturday. He died in his Venice, California home surrounded by family and friends. He was 74 years old. Hopper had announced his cancer battle last fall, after making a few public appearances in which his weight loss and ill health was evident. He had a television, stage and film career that spanned nearly 50 years, and he has more than 200 credits on his IMDB page. He worked with everyone, knew everyone, drank with everyone, did drugs with everyone, and probably slept with everyone too. He knew and worked with Marlon Brando, James Dean, Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Sean Penn (who named his son after his friend) and many, many more. In addition to his career as a writer, director and actor, he was also a painter and photographer, and one of the world’s great art collectors (along with his friend Jack Nicholson).

Hopper first became a household name by starring, co-writing and directing 1969’s Easy Rider. During that time – and for decades after – Hopper struggled with alcohol and drugs, and his career was often hit or miss. He gave iconic performances in Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, Hoosiers, True Romance, Speed and 24. The last two decades were Hopper’s most prolific time as an actor, and he worked non-stop. It was perhaps because he found a niche as a character actor, a supporting player rather than as a leading man. He never won an Oscar (although he was nominated twice), but he was widely regarded as one of the most iconic and recognizable actors to come out of the 1960s.

Since the beginning of the year, Hopper has gotten a lot of press in the tabloids, and much of it was probably unwelcome for him. While struggling with cancer, he decided (some say the decision was made for him by his daughter) to divorce his current wife. Stories even appeared about how abusive he was towards her, and how possibly abusive his daughter was to him. We don’t know what was really happening there, and as far as I know, Hopper was still married to Victoria, although he had probably changed his will.

All in all, no matter what he was like in his personal life, Hollywood is mourning an icon today. I just happened to be reading about him last night – a publisher sent us an advanced copy of Hollywood Hellraisers: the Wild Lives and Fast Times of Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson by a British journalist Robert Sellers. So far, I’m still in the 1970s, but there are some fascinating details about all of the men so far. One of my favorite stories involved Michelle Phillips, and how in the short span of something like five years, she married and divorced Hopper (first), then dated Jack Nicholson (second) and Warren Beatty (third). All three men got serious about her and Jack and Warren even considered marrying her – and both Jack and Warren checked with Dennis before they began their affairs with her.

In any case, Hopper’s death was expected but still sad. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his extended family and friends.

Dennis Hopper is honored with the 2; 403rd Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

2007 CineVegas Reception At The Casa Fuente Cigar Bar

2008 CineVegas Film Festival 10th Anniversary Party - Arrivals

2008 CineVegas Film Festival Opening Night Screening Of "The Rocker"

Header: Hopper’s last public outing, in March, to receive his star on the Walk of Fame. Credit: PCNphotos.com.

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25 Responses to “Dennis Hopper dies at the age of 74”

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  1. Constance says:

    I hope he’s comfy out there. Bad divorce and cancer is a shitty end of life situation. All the best Dennis!

  2. Maddie says:

    thats so sad :( RIP Dennis

  3. girl says:

    Requiescat in pace. Prayers for his family.

  4. Jillian says:

    RIP, Dennis. You will be missed.

  5. Kim says:

    Oh oh celebs die in threes Gary , Dennis…RIP

  6. omondieu says:

    Not unexpected, but truly sad nonetheless. :(
    Stay wild, Billy the Kid.

  7. serena says:

    what a shitty period..one year so far and so many have died..

  8. bellaluna says:

    He will truly be missed.

  9. Wow, 2010 is a kicker. I hope the rest of the year looks better.

  10. Anna says:

    Another infamous Hollywood legend gone. So sad. Seems like just yesterday I got to watch him, young and vibrant, in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Rest in peace, Dennis.

  11. Debbie says:

    Cancer is a bastard! It’s something you would not even want your worst enemies to get,

    All I can say Is RIP A great actor will be sadly missed

    Debbie

  12. Bunny says:

    My Mom was on the NYC train on a Sunday night and looked across the row of seats….. she could believe it was DENNIS HOPPER!

    He was just at the start of his career and my Mom adored him. He and James Dean are the last of a breed and will be missed.

  13. hiski says:

    interesting to see the news re: D. Hopper next to h & s pratt… such is life i guess… hope we are ALL still learning the difference, and practicing it for the BETTER! ;) yeah! be GREAT, not lame!!!

  14. Aitch says:

    Love you Dennis. An American Legend.

  15. aury says:

    well, THAT sucks. RIP, dennis.

  16. lucy2 says:

    RIP, Dennis.
    It’s a shame the end of his life was filled with so much discord in his family. Hopefully he is at peace, and they all work it out somehow.

  17. Tia C says:

    I don’t know exactly why, but I’m so shocked. He seemed like he would live forever. Peace be with you, DH.

  18. Jazz says:

    Rest in peace Dennis. They don’t make actors like you anymore.

  19. canadianchick says:

    RIP-also sending wishes for his family to heal and move forward without being nasty to each other.

  20. Brittney says:

    Still somehow shocking. :-( His pain is over now.

    On a technical note, you say that she married and divorced all three of them, then that the latter two “considered” marrying her but just had affairs with her. Which is it?

  21. Kaiser says:

    Brittney – Sorry, that was unclear, my bad. I corrected it – Michelle Phillips married and divorced Hopper, and dated Jack and Warren.

  22. Tess says:

    For a fascinating, behind-the-scenes glimpse at Dennis Hopper, I recommend “Haywire” the biography written by Brooke Hayward, Dennis’s first wife (and mother of his oldest daughter who is embroiled in the current legal issues with his current wife).

    Brooke is the daughter of Hollywood royalty from the golden days, producer Leland Hayward and actress Margaret Sullavan, who twice (I think) married Henry Fonda.

    Brooke was best friends with Jane Fonda, so the book is a treasure trove of Hollywood lore….from Henry Fonda to Peter Fonda, who was her brother Bill’s best friend, and Bill was a co-producer of Easy Rider. The book includes a truly poignant section about her beautiful sister Bridget’s untimely death (it was possibly a suicide)and the effect it had on her family. Bridget Fonda was named for her. The book is extremely well written.

    RIP Dennis. His performance in Hoosiers is so fine.

  23. crazydaisy says:

    Dennis Hopper and Gary Coleman on the same day – too weird. It’s like MJ and Farrah. Kind of.

  24. g says:

    one of the cool guys and a savvy collector of modern art too!