Thursday, June 3, 2010

Easy Rider - Born To Be Wild

Dennis Lee Hopper, born in Dodge City, Kansas (May 17, 1936 – May 29, 2010) was an American actor, filmmaker and artist. As a young man, Hopper became interested in acting and eventually became a student of the Actors' Studio. He made his first television appearance in 1955, and appeared in two films featuring James Dean, Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). Over the next ten years, Hopper appeared frequently on television in guest roles, and by the end of the 1960s had played supporting roles in several films.

He directed and starred in Easy Rider (1969) with Peter Fonda, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay as co-writer.

Riding an iron horse wrapped in the American flag, Fonda portrayed a modern-day Wyatt Earp alongside a Billy the Kid portrayed by Hopper, dressed in Indian leathers, riding a classic rigid chopper. They explored the anti-establishment, counter-culture of the '60s.

With its portrait of counterculture heroes raising their middle fingers to the uptight middle-class hypocrisies, Easy Rider became the cinematic symbol of the 1960s, a celluloid anthem to freedom, macho bravado and anti-establishment rebellion.

No other persona better signifies the lost idealism of the 1960s than Dennis Hopper's portrayal of Billy Zero.