October 24, 2014

Dennis Hopper, RIP: Update

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America lost one of Hollywood’s few proud conservatives today. Dennis Hopper died of complications from prostate cancer this morning at his home in Venice, California. Hopper, 74, made his mark on the American cinema by directing and acting in the 1969 film Easy Rider, a classic, and his acting career spanned well over fifty years.

Although he had his personal challenges in life, ones he admitted were of his own making, what stood out to me was a 60 Minutes interview he did a few years ago, at the height of the Iraq war. Even though President Bush was becoming increasingly unpopular, Hopper defended him, said he admired him, and clearly didn’t care what anybody else thought. This kind of character in Hollywood will be missed.

Update: On 30 September 1970, Dennis Hopper appeared on the Johnny Cash Show and recited Rudyard Kipling’s great poem “If.”

HT: John J. Miller

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4 thoughts on “Dennis Hopper, RIP: Update

  • Jim Lakely

    Sad, but expected news. RIP to an American and Hollywood original.

    And since these things come in threes, I’m pretty nervous today if I’m a Hollywood actor/celebrity.

  • Ben Boychuk

    Assuming there isn’t a time limit: Ronnie James Dio, Gary Coleman, Dennis Hopper.

    Hopper was great in everything he did, but my personal favorite will probably always be his small role as the photojournalist in “Apocalypse Now.” For a very funny insight on Hopper’s approach to that part, I recommend “Hearts of Darkness,” Fax Bahr and George Hickenlooper’s great documentary of the making of “Apocalypse Now.”

    Oh, and he was great in “Blue Velvet,” too. He did great villains.

  • Mike D'Virgilio Post author

    I was going to mention the bad guy he played in season 2 of “24,” and what that meant to the series. Just the fact that Dennis Hopper would be part of it gave the show a credibility it would not have otherwise had. I think his appearance did a lot to move “24” from cult hit to American pop cultural phenomenon.

  • S. T. Karnick

    Hopper was a terrific actor and clearly an intelligent man. In addition to the acting roles mentioned here, he demonstrated how easily he could convey a fascinating, charismatic character who convinces the audiences as startlingly real in the TV series Crash.

    Year after year, Hopper gave performances of that quality in films and TV shows both good and bad. He was a craftsman of great skill and dedication.

    As to Easy Rider, I think it’s about time that that wildly misunderstood film were seen for what it really is: an energetic and eloquent call for liberty and resistance to the overpowering state and its satraps of captive private-sector institutions. Hopper’s sympathies were with the individual and the “little platoons” and against all the power-hungry, aristocratic elites of the time.

    In that light the film is entirely of a piece with Hopper’s career and the thoughts he expressed throughout his life. His work was a blessing to this nation. May he now reap the rewards of his good works, and be forgiven for his misdeeds.


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