Love Letter To ... Dennis Hopper

Saturday, May 29, 2010
This year, we're dedicating our ROAD MOVIES FILM PROGRAM to Dennis Hopper, who died today at age 74. Though I've written all of the other "Love Letters" in this series, I think Mr. Hopper's life and work deserve a more serious and professional tribute that I can give.  Instead, I've chosen to excerpt a portion of Roger Ebert's touching tribute, Dennis Hopper: In Memory.  I hope you'll read the entire article on Mr. Ebert's Blog. - Meg

Dennis Hopper's career began as an actor of alienation in movies like "Rebel Without a Cause." His career as a director began with "Easy Rider." His career as an art collector began went he bought one of Andy Warhol's soup can paintings for $75. His career as a drug abuser began at around the same time, and he told me, simply and factually, "I spent some time in a rubber room."

Then he got clean and sober, and his careers started all over again, as an actor, as a director, as a photographer much in demand, as a painter, as an icon. Hopper's death came Saturday at age 74, surrounded by family and friends in the modernist house he built on Venice Beach in Los Angeles and filled with modern art.

For Hopper, life was an art form. His acting took such shape because he was able to reinvent himself as a character. More than many actors , he created characters we remember vividly for themselves: James Dean's sidekick in "Rebel," Marlon Brando's drug-crazed acolyte in "Apocalypse Now," the terrifying gas-sniffing pervert of "Blue Velvet," the town drunk in "Hoosiers," a hit man in "Red Rock West," the villain in "Waterworld."

He was also an intellectual, although that side was masked by his somewhat notorious drug abuse, gradually escalating from the 1960s until about 1983. Some of those years were lost. please continue reading on Ebert's blog


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