Archive for the "Dennis Hopper" 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.