5/29/2010

RIP: Dennis Hopper

Actor/director and one of the key members of the late '60s and '70s so-called "new Hollywood", Dennis Hopper died on May 29th at his home in Los Angeles. He announced, via publicist, being diagnosed with prostate cancer in October of last year.

Hopper's vast list of screen credits include Rebel Without A Cause [1955], Easy Rider [1969](which he also co-wrote and directed), Blue Velvet [1986], and Speed [1994], as well as directing the Sean Penn-Robert Duvall vehicle Colors [1988], but on a personal level his most memorable roles were in Apocalypse Now [1979], Rumble Fish [1983] (both directed by Francis Ford Coppola) and Hoosiers [1986], which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Also of note was his directorial turn in The Hot Spot [1990], a small, interesting film starring Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, and a young Jennifer Connolly, which also features music by Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker. Critic Roger Ebert called the update of old school B-movie yarns, "a superior work in an old tradition".

Earlier this year, a frail-looking Hopper made his final public appearance when he was honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in recognition of his lengthy carreer. He was 74 years old.

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