Actor, film-maker, photographer and artist, Dennis Hopper has died at the age of 74. There’s a good obituary at the BBC site, and the Guardian has, or had, a selection of clips from a long career in films which began with a minor role alongside James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause . Image credit: Dennis Hopper photographed in June 2008 by Antje Verena.
The Guardian’s Film section also has an uncredited Peter Bradshaw’s assessment of the film roles of “Hollywood’s Uneasy Rider” that’s worth a look.
But for all the self-destruction, unfortunate marriages (five of them, including one to Michelle Phillips that lasted just eight days) and career- immolating craziness, Hopper maintained more integrity in his little finger than many of the bland, bloodless stars of today can muster in their entire surgically enhanced bodies.
Even his failures — and his chaotic second directorial outing, The Last Movie, must count as one despite its subsequent cult status — were achieved on his own terms. And his career highs, in Blue Velvet, River’s Edge, Easy Rider, True Romance and in the acclaimed first series of 24 — are the stuff of legend. It’s Hollywood that’s dead. Dennis Hopper will live on.
Here’s the scene mentioned in that Guardian piece, from the under-rated Flashback – probably not safe for work…
And for the traditionalists, a musical tribute.