Hollywood actor Dennis Hopper, best known for directing and starring in the 1969 cult classic “Easy Rider,” died on Saturday from complications of prostate cancer, a friend of the actor said. Hopper was 74.
From Speed, Blue Velvet to Hoosiers, Dennis Hopper always dominated movies with his iconic presence. The hard-living screen star died at his home in the coastal Los Angeles suburb of Venice at 8:15 a.m. PDT (1515 GMT), surrounded by family and friends, the friend, Alex Hitz, told Reuters.
“If we go back and look at his career, there are lots of interesting discoveries to be found,” says NYU’s Robert Sklar. “He isn’t only Easy Rider, he isn’t only Apocalypse Now, he isn’t only Blue Velvet — there is so much more to think about.”
In a wildly varied career spanning more than 50 years, Hopper appeared alongside his mentor James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and Giant in the 1950s and played maniacs in such films as Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and Speed. He received two Oscar nominations — for writing Easy Rider (with co-star Peter Fonda and Terry Southern), and for a rare heartwarming turn as an alcoholic high-school basketball coach in the 1986 drama Hoosiers.
In January, while in cancer treatment, he filed for divorce from his wife of 14 years, actress Victoria Duffy. Survivors include a daughter from his first marriage ; a daughter from his third marriage; a son from his fourth marriage ; and a daughter from his fourth marriage Recently, Mr. Hopper was a star on the TV drama Cras” on the Starz cable network and a commercial pitchman for the investment adviser Ameriprise Financial. He recorded his voice for the company Navtones, which specializes in celebrity voice downloads for GPS navigation systems. The company’s Web site said Mr. Hopper’s voice “makes every ride easy.”
Hopper, who recently received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in March, is survived by four children.