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    Tue, 01 Jun 2010 07:04:55

    Dennis Hopper Dies - Renegade actor was 74

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    Renegade thespian Dennis Hopper has died. The actor, 74, was engaged in a long and public battle with prostate cancer (and his wife, Victoria Cane Duffy.) He died on Saturday, May 29, at his Venice home. He was surrounded by friends and family when he passed.

    Hopper recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March and even appeared at the March 18 ceremony despite his failing, frail health.

    Hopper enjoyed almost 200 film and TV gigs throughout the course of his career. He is well known for taking controversial, subversive roles and for having experimented often with drugs. His first big-screen appearance came all the way back in 1955, when he stared in Rebel Without a Cause with his friend James Dean! It's fitting that Hopper starred in Rebel, since rebelliousness marked much of his long and successful career. He was a true icon and Hollywood rebel who played by his rules, no matter how many how many eyebrows he raised in the process.

    Another key Hopper role was in Easy Rider, which he starred in alongside Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. The film was both the actor's breakthrough and it marked a considerable turning point in Hollywood, as a focus on against-the-grain films/scripts and an embrace of youth culture began to come to take precedence and become a creative priority. The film earned Hopper a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award nomination. He was also nominated for another Oscar for his role in the 1986 basketball film Hoosiers. He also directed the gang drama Colors, which starred Sean Penn, who, much like Hopper, took on unexpected roles throughout his career, so perhaps Hopper rubbed off on Penn a bit?

    He enjoyed a later career resurgence in films like Blue Velvet and Speed, which displayed the actor's versatility even in roles that were considered his type. He also had a role in TV's 24. He admitted that he was often cast as "nuts" in his films and acknowledged that he did a good job despite the typecasting. He also took a left turn in Elegy, playing an aging lothario and poetry professor in a supporting role.

    The actor was married five times and is survived by five children. During his cancer battle, he filed for divorce from Duffy, whom he married in 1996. She lost all rights to his estate upon his death.

    What is your favorite Dennis Hopper film?

    —Amy Sciarretto

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