Saturday, 29 May 2010

Dennis Hopper 1936-2010

Dennis Hopper passed away today in Los Angeles. His career encompassed almost all the facets of the Hollywood system, from the big studio era (in films like REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE) to single-handedly starting the New Hollywood movement (directing and starring in EASY RIDER) to cult status (Frank Booth in BLUE VELVET) to baddie du jour in 90s action flicks (SPEED, etc).
He'll mostly be remembered for EASY RIDER, but my favorite Hopper moment has to be his zonked out photo-journalist in APOCALYPSE NOW. He played that part without learning his lines (as documented in the fabulous doc HEARTS OF DARKNESS) and mostly stoned, but somehow captures and bottles the crazy perfectly.
He was also an obsessive art collector and was responsible for much of the success of the art scene in New york in the 1980s, and was an acclaimed artist himself.
Despite his hard living, with drugs and alcohol a big part of his life, it was cancer that ultimately got him. He was a presence throughout a large part of the history of cinema for the past 60 years, and his absence will be deeply felt.

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