Dennis Hopper Passes Away at 74
May 29th 2010
The prolific and legendary actor Dennis Hopper passed away this morning at his home in California at the age of 74, after a battle with prostate cancer. According to Reuters, Hopper died at his home in California early this morning. This is a very sad day, indeed, for film fans, as Hopper made his mark on countless iconic films, from the searing Apocalypse Now to the surreal Blue Velvet, and, of course, Easy Rider, which he co-wrote and directed.
Hopper was part of a generation of actors and directors who rejuvenated filmmaking in the '70s in most unlikely ways, as detailed in the fascinating book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind.
Please add to Monika's wonderful post about your favorite Dennis Hopper roles, and stay tuned as the Cinematical team add their own thoughts to this article.
He was a "goon" in Rebel Without a Cause. He did Bonanza and Gunsmoke and The Twilight Zone. He helped make Easy Rider, Apocalypse Now, and Blue Velvet into benchmark films. He did dozens of movies you've never seen yet.
I believe my first experience with Mr. Hopper was in the slight-yet-amusing 1985 comedy My Science Project, and I remember thinking he was really funny for a grown-up. A few years later I saw him run rampant through Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and that was it: I was a Dennis Hopper fan for life. River's Edge, Hoosiers, Black Widow, Flashback, Paris Trout, Red Rock West, True Romance, Speed, Land of the Dead ... this guy was like an awesome yet unpredictable uncle every time you saw him at the movies. Even in junk like Super Mario Bros. or Waterworld, Hopper made his moments fun. (And he was in worse films that those ones, believe me. Again, he always delivered something colorful.)
Like I said on the twitter: I'd say we need more actors like Dennis Hopper, but then that would make them less special. He will most definitely be missed, but like I said: the man did a lot of movies I bet you've never seen, so go dig up Mad Dog Morgan or Chattahoochee or The Osterman Weekend and enjoy the manic magic of some Dennis Hopper.
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