THR reports that Dennis Hopper, whose career included working on films including the cult classics Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider and Blue Velvet, has died at the age of 74, after a battle with prostate cancer.
Hopper was a two-time Academy Award nominee and was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, in March 2010, however his career was filled with ups and downs. After a promising start that included roles in two James Dean films, Hopper’s acting career deteriorated as he gained a reputation for throwing tantrums and abusing drugs and alcohol. According to the report, Hopper so angered John Wayne n the set of the film True Grit, that the star chased Hopper with a loaded pistol.
Dennis Hopper was married five times and led a dramatic life right to the end. In January 2010, Hopper filed to end his 14-year marriage to Victoria Hopper, who claimed the actor was seeking to cut her out of her inheritance, a claim Hopper denied.
“Easy Rider was never a motorcycle movie to me,” Hopper said in 2009. “A lot of it was about politically what was going on in the country.”
Fonda produced Easy Rider and Hopper directed it for a meager $380,000. It went on to gross $40 million worldwide. Easy Rider was a success despite tensions between Hopper and Fonda, as well as Hopper and Rip Torn (originally chosen for Nicholson’s part), who quit after a bitter argument with the director. Easy Rider was a hit at Cannes, and yielded a best-screenplay Oscar nod for Hopper, Fonda and Terry Southern, and was later listed on the American Film Institute’s ranking of the top 100 American films.