Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider R.I.P.

Dennis Hopper was part of a new generation of Hollywood rebels in 1969 when he directed and co-stared in “Easy Rider."

He remained at the edge of what was exciting and new right up to the end, when he died last week at age 74 at his home in Venice, Calif.

He was famous for his portrayal of the crazy misfit in "Apocalypse Now" (1979) and the cult classic, "Blue Velvet" (1986), and was at work on a TV series adaptation of the 2005 blockbuster,"Crash" when he lost the battle in a second round of prostrate cancer.

"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) with James Dean launched his film career. He also appeared in such notable films as "Hang 'Em High" (1968), "Speed" (1994), and "Waterworld" (1995).

Dennis' free wheeling, free spirited character became the blueprint for thousands of bikers as many tried to emulate his spirit and the Ben Hardy built chopper that he rode in the film.

He gave up drugs and booze and an out-of-control lifestyle in the mid 1980's and excellerated his career. His credits include at least six films released in 2008 and at least 25 over the past 10 years.

Dennis Hopper -- actor, filmmaker, photographer, art collector, world-class burnout, first-rate survivor — never blew it. Unlike the villains and freaks he has played over the decades — the psycho with the mommy complex in “Blue Velvet,” the mad bomber with the grudge in “Speed” — he has made it through the good, the bad and some spectacularly terrible times. He rode out the golden age of Hollywood by roaring into a new movie era with “Easy Rider.” He hung out with James Dean, played Elizabeth Taylor’s son, acted for Quentin Tarantino. He has been rich and infamous, lost and found, the next big thing, the last man standing. -- New York Times.

Ride Easy... R.I.P. Dennis Hopper