Archive for the "Anjelica Huston" Category

Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper, dies at 74

Dennis Hopper01

Dennis Hopper, the Hollywood bad boy who turned in memorable roles and turned his life around, died today in Venice, Calif., at 74.

Hopper suffered from advanced prostate cancer, which had metastasized to his bones earlier this year. He died among family and friends at his home.

Best known for his roles in “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Easy Rider” – which he also directed and co-wrote – “Apocalypse Now,” “Hoosiers” and “Speed,” Hopper was a controversial figure in Hollywood who never received the American film industry’s top honor, an Academy Award. He was nominated twice, in 1970 for Best Writing along with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern for “Easy Rider” and again in 1987 for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for “Hoosiers.”

However, Hopper saw plenty of success in his career. “Easy Rider,” which he directed, starred in and co-wrote, was made for $340,000 and grossed more than $50 million, also earning him the Best New Director award at the Cannes Film Festival.

A Hollywood icon for more than five decades, Hopper was a Vegas icon, too. The actor and director served as the chairman of the CineVegas Film Festival and was an important figure at the annual festival, which has been on hiatus since last year. He attended events, walked red carpets and greeted fans and fellow actors enthusiastically.

Hopper took on the role of chairman in 2004 after he was given the festival’s coveted Marquee Award in 2003 for his long and distinguished career.

At CineVegas 2009, the festival’s final year, Hopper said CineVegas was unique because it was “primarily about the independent filmmakers. It’s really about the independent filmmakers and it’s really about them being able to come together and feel like they’re a family.”

Hopper saw his own role at CineVegas as a liaison between Hollywood and Las Vegas, bringing in some of the bigger names and bigger films and helping the festival grow during his time as chair. With Hopper in that role, CineVegas honored such legendary actors as Jon Voight, Willem Dafoe, Anjelica Huston, Jack Nicholson and Sean Penn. But Hopper always came back to the independent filmmakers, who he valued highly.

“They’re the hope of our industry,” he told the Las Vegas Weekly in 2009. “They’re on the cutting edge and they will be the ones that break through and make new cinema and tell new stories at a time when they really need to be told.”

CineVegas was founded by members of the Greenspun family, which also owns the Las Vegas Sun.

Even as he struggled with cancer, Hopper himself wasn’t finished telling stories. Through 2009, Hopper acted in the STARZ spin-off television show of the Oscar-winning film “Crash” about racial tensions in contemporary America. According to IMDB, Hopper also worked on two film projects yet to be released – “The Last Film Festival,” a comedy about a sinking producer, played by Hopper, suffering rejection from all but one film festival and “Alpha and Omega,” an animated film about two young wolves. Both are slated for release this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Court documents reveal disturbing details behind Roman Polanski’s child molestation crime


British Tabloid the DailyMail has obtained Polanski’s probation officer’s report  -  a revealing document which records in grim and forensic detail how the then 43-year-old went about seducing a girl 30 years his junior with the aid of a good deal of alcohol and a drug that would have rendered her almost incapable of resisting.

The 28-page probation report was prepared for this sentencing  -  court case A334139, ‘The people of the state of California vs Roman Raymond Polanski’  -  and was put together during the six weeks that the director was in Chino jail for psychiatric assessment.

It reveals that far from the crime being an impromptu lapse, as his supporters argue, Polanski carried out not just one, but a succession of sexual assaults against Samantha  -  and that he knew exactly what he was doing throughout.

Until now the events of that day have only been summarised, but when the evidence is read in full, it explains why the Californian authorities are so determined to have him back.

The year before Polanski allegedly attacked his teenage victim, he photographed 15-year-old actress Nastassja Kinski for French Vogue.

The pictures were such a success that he was soon casting around for new young girls to photograph. One of these was 13-year-old Samantha Geimer.

As the court report reveals, she was recommended to him by a French actor friend who had introduced Polanksi to Samantha’s mother, herself only 30, at a well-known Hollywood bar.

Polanski duly visited the family home and showed them the pictures he had taken of the beautiful Kinski. Crucially, this was the point at which Samantha’s mother emphasised to Polanski exactly how old her daughter was. In other words, he knew from the outset that his model was underage.

In the first session, Polanski took pictures of her topless, but it was soon after, on March 10, 1977, that he is alleged to have attacked Samantha.

On that day, the report states, ‘the defendant returned to the victim’s home to pick her up for a second modelling session. The mother remained at home, the victim going with the defendant to a Benedict Canyon residence. There were several people at the residence as the defendant took pictures of the victim until the light began to dim’.

Polanski then took his young model to the remote house of Jack Nicholson  -  the star of his 1974 movie Chinatown.

The report goes into disturbing detail about Polanski’s predatory behaviour that afternoon.

First, he plied the girl with champagne and Quaaludes, a tranquilliser fashionable at the time as a recreational drug. It loosens the inhibitions, makes you drowsy and should not be taken with alcohol.

The report states that at the Nicholson residence they were met by a neighbour, Helena Kalliniaotes, who served as a caretaker for several homes on the Mulholland Drive compound.

‘With the permission of Mrs Kalliniaotes, defendant then opened a bottle of champagne which he, the victim and Mrs Kalliniaotes shared.

Mrs Kalliniaotes left the home shortly after, when defendant began taking pictures of the victim. Again pictures with and without top were taken.’

Then, according to the victim, she and Polanski entered the bathroom. At this point, Samantha takes up the story in her own words.

‘He walked in before me,’ she said. ‘When I walked in, he had a container. And he had a pill broken in three parts. And he said: “Is this a Quaalude? Do you think I will be able to drive if I take it?”

‘He goes “Well, I guess I will,” and he took it.

‘And he says: “Do you want part?” And I went “No”… oh, at that time I said “OK” because I didn’t know.’

Meanwhile, Samantha said, she carried on drinking champagne. ‘I don’t know how much because I was drinking some of his, too. I just kept drinking it for the pictures.’

Crucially, there were signs at this point that Samantha was getting nervous, yet Polanski ignored them. ‘Subsequently the victim entered the Jacuzzi, where defendant took nude pictures of her,’ the report continues.

‘Apparently apprehensive at this time, the victim indicated to the defendant that she wished to get out of the Jacuzzi as she had asthma. Subsequently, victim indicated to the defendant that she wished to return home to take her asthma medicine.’

Any decent man  -  not that a decent man would have been in that position in the first place  -  would have realised that his child model had had enough. But what did Polanski do? ‘He told me to go into the other room and lie down,’ recalled Samantha.

The report continues: ‘Defendant entered the bedroom where the victim was resting and began to kiss her.’

It then states that he performed oral sex  -  this on a girl who was so intoxicated she did not know what she was doing.

‘Victim testified: “I can scarcely remember anything that happened. I was kind of dizzy…” ‘

Polanski then proceeded to have full sex with her.

‘Defendant then accomplished an act of sexual intercourse with the victim. He questioned her as to whether she was using birth control pills and additionally questioned her as to the time of her last menstrual period,’ says the report.

Samantha recalled in her witness statement that it was not long before he stopped, or so it seemed in her dazed state. But then he launched another even more vile sexual assault.

Not even the arrival of Anjelica Huston, Jack Nicholson’s girlfriend at the time, put a stop to the assaults. The report recalls how Huston wasn’t happy to find that Polanski was in the house without her permission, so she tried to speak to him.

She ‘entered the residence, knocking on the bedroom door, stating: “Roman, are you in there?”

‘The defendant went to the door, talked briefly with Miss Huston, then returned to the victim and again attempted an act of intercourse.’

Later, the report continues, ‘the two [Polanski and Samantha] exited the bedroom, talked with Miss Huston for a while, then returned to the victim’s home, the victim indicating only to her mother: ‘If he says anything about asthma, I told him I had asthma.’

Those words would seem to raise the suspicion that she’d made up the asthma attack in an attempt to get away from Polanski earlier in the day.

Anjelica Huston has since said that she believed Samantha looked a lot older than 13 so had no idea she was underage.

That night, Samantha poured out her story to her 17-year-old boyfriend who had come over to see her.

Her mother overheard their conversation and called the police. Polanski had no defence. The girl was taken to a local hospital, where a medical examination established without doubt that sex had taken place.

‘After a search warrant was obtained,’ the report says, ‘the defendant was arrested in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on March 11,

‘Film confiscated, the officers finding prescribed Quaaludes of 150 milligrams strength in defendant’s room.’

Polanski said the pills were prescribed for jetlag. However he also had stronger ones in his possession.

‘En route to the bedroom,’ the police noted, ‘defendant was apparently attempting to dispose of a 300 milligram Quaalude tablet, which was then recovered by the arresting officer. It is to be noted that the portion of the Quaalude that the victim [Samantha] took at the Nicholson residence was also 300 milligram strength.’

Polanski faced grave charges which could have led to a 50-year jail sentence, but by mid-March he was free on £1,500 bail and a trial was set for August 8.

Even then, the director continued partying with scantily-clad models in London and St Tropez. It was a long way from the behaviour of a man who told his probation officer how dreadfully sorry he was for what he’d done:

‘The defendant expressed great remorse regarding any possible effect the present offence might have had upon the victim.

He expressed great pity and compassion for her … stated that because of the many tragedies that he himself has known in his own life [Polanski's family was persecuted by the Nazis], he feels great empathy for a young person in distress.’

Polanski returned to LA just before the trial and struck a deal with the court to drop some charges in return for pleading guilty to one count of unlawful intercourse with a minor.

As the report shows, the film business rallied round him.

Dick Sylbert, the art director on Chinatown, called him ‘a generous loyal friend and a very sensitive human being’.

And his friend Gene Gutowski (he went on to produce Polanski’s 2002 Oscar-winning film The Pianist) said: ‘There is very little dark or sinister about Roman.

‘He has remained amazingly normal and welladjusted, generous to a fault. As a result, he has been targeted by young and ambitious females.’

With such controversy raging, it might have been wise for Polanski to keep a low profile  -  but no.

First, he got into a fight with an LA photographer who took a picture of him kneeling at his murdered wife Sharon’s grave. Then he was pictured drinking with a beautiful girl at a beer festival. And when he went out to dinner in Hollywood, his friends were apt to get to their feet and applaud him.

By now Judge Rittenbrand had had enough. He sent Polanski to Chino jail for three months to undergo the psychiatric tests which form part of the probation officer’s report.

Incredibly, the psychiatrist, Alvin E. Davis, decided that the film director was not a sexual deviant, not a paedophile, and that the ‘offence occurred as an isolated instance of transient poor judgment and loss of normal inhibitions in circumstances of intimacy and collaboration in creative work, with some coincidental alcohol and drug intoxication’.

The conclusion was that prison would destroy him, and he should instead pay a substantial fine.

Rittenbrand did not agree. The judge, who died in 1993, called the report a whitewash and told Polanski’s lawyer that he planned to jail the director for another six weeks  -  or longer, if he did not agree to voluntary deportation.

Polanski spent one last night partying at Jack Nicholson’s house with a coterie of starry friends and then fled, ignoring the outraged judge.

Since then, a furore has raged over whether he should face justice. Year after year, his LA friends have tried to mediate between him and successive district attorneys. But the authorities refuse to bow to star pressure.

Polanski has never dared to go back to California and face a court. Now, as he languishes under house arrest in Switzerland while U.S. authorities press for extradition, he must be reflecting that the time has come when he may have to. When you read such harrowing details of this vile crime in black and white, it is easy to see why.