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|Also Known As:||Dennis Lee Hopper||Died:||May 29, 2010|
|Born:||May 17, 1936||Cause of Death:||Prostate cancer/Liver failure|
|Birth Place:||Dodge City, Kansas, USA||Profession:||Cast ... director actor screenwriter painter photographer artist boxer|
in "Tracks" (1976). After "The American Friend" (1977), directed by Wim Wenders, which helped initiate the process of his rehabilitation as a talent, Hopper traveled to West Germany to make "Couleur chair" (1977); then to France for "The Apprentice Sorcerers" (1977) and "L'Ordre et la Securite du Monde" (1978).
By the late 1970s, Hopper's drug habits - which included massive amounts of cocaine to keep him upright enough to continue drinking - and erratic behavior had virtually sent him into exile, though at the time, he seemed to revel in the role of the ugly American. He did, however, manage to make one of his more memorable appearances in years with "Apocalypse Now" (1979), playing a flipped-out, rhapsodizing photojournalist living in the camp of the infamous Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), who attaches himself to the military operative (Martin Sheen) sent to kill Kurtz. Despite Hopper's amusingly manic performance, there was no way to ignore the fact that he was on the verge of an incredible downfall. While acting in "Out of the Blue" (1980), a Canadian film shot in the U.S., Hopper managed to sneak back behind the camera and took over direction of the film in mid-production. After managing to complete roles in "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "The Osterman Weekend" (1983), Hopper finally hit rock bottom. In 1983, a strung out and hallucinating Hopper stumbled naked along a Mexican highway, as weird visions of space ships and World War III consumed his mind. He was eventually picked up by the police, sent back to the United States and institutionalized.
Hopper checked himself into rehab and began to sober up. Though often associated with drugs, Hopper's main addiction was to alcohol. Meanwhile, he began his second career revival in earnest with a mesmerizing performance as the sociopathic, ether-addicted criminal Frank Booth in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" (1986). Next, Hopper was cast as a recovering alcoholic and assistant basketball coach in the bathetic "Hoosiers" (1986). The actor seemed to find a perfect vehicle to proclaim his newfound sobriety, while receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his efforts. He followed up with another strong performance as a depraved ex-biker with a missing leg and a predilection for blow-up dolls in "River's Edge" (1987). His rehabilitation seemed complete in a triumphant return to the director's chair with "Colors" (1988), a stark urban drama about two anti-gang cops (Robert Duvall and Sean Penn) dealing with a raging war between The Bloods and The Crips in South Central Los Angeles. Hopper quickly followed with two more directing projects, "The Hot Spot" (1990), an erotic film noir starring Don Johnson and Virginia Madsen, and "Backtrack" (1990), a crime thriller that depicted him as an assassin on the hunt for a witness to a mob killing (Jodie Foster).
By the time the 1990s rolled around, Hopper had replaced his old image as the drug-crazed maniac with the profile of a regularly employed character lead in film and television, effortlessly segueing from drama to comedy; from big-budget spectacular to low-budget indies. In 1991, he appeared in Sean Penn's directorial debut, "The Indian Runner," and two made-for-cable movies, "Paris Trout" (Showtime) and "Doublecrossed" (HBO). In "Boiling Point" (1993), a lukewarm attempt to recreate a 1950s-styled crime flick, Hopper played a rather likeable loser whose desire to stay alive causes many deaths. Then in "Super Mario Brothers" (1993), based on the once-popular Nintendo video game, Hopper played a live-action version of reptilian villain King Koopa. Following a turn as a smarmy, psychotic hit man in John Dahl's "Red Rock West" (1993), Hopper delivered on of his better roles - which included one of his favorite scenes - in Tony Scott's "True Romance" (1993). As the generally sympathetic former cop father of a comic book store clerk (Christian Slater) on the run from the mob, Hopper gets tortured by the head gangster (Christopher Walken) before launching into an unforgettable Quentin Tarantino-scripted speech about the ancestry of Sicilians. Hopper also made a stir in a series of Nike commercials by playing an obsessive fan posing as an NFL referee who routinely imposes himself on various players like Bruce Smith and Sterling Sharpe. It was projects like these that made Hopper - now in his mid-fifties - an arbiter of cool among even younger audiences who had no memory of his past triumphs and travails.
By the mid-1990s, Hopper had become a reliable villain for such special effects-driven blockbusters as "Speed" (1994) and "Waterworld" (1995), while still appearing in such low-profile efforts as the comedy "Search and Destroy" (1995), playing a late-night cable guru and novelist, and the documentary "Who Is Henry Jaglom?" (1995). The nearly 60-year-old Hopper starred in the romantic melodrama "Carried Away" (1996), convincingly playing a forty-something school teacher who cares for his invalid mother and juggles a long-term, low-intensity relationship with another teacher (Amy Irving) as well as a passionate affair with a 17-year-old student (Amy Locane). It was during this film that the man who had spent a good part of his younger, drugged out days naked in public, suddenly shied away from doing a nude scene. After playing a European art dealer in Julian Schnabel's biopic "Basquiat" (1996), Hopper had starring roles in lesser features like "Space Trucker" (1997), "Meet the Deedles" (1998) and "Bad City Blues" (1999). Also in 1999, Hopper was cast as Hank, the father of Matthew McConaughey's character Ed in the comedy feature, "EdTV." Making the jump back to series television, he made a guest-starring appearance on "24" (Fox, 2001- ), playing a Balkan mercenary who hatches a personal vendetta against agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and presidential candidate, Senator David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert).
In 2002, he joined Vin Diesel and John Malkovich for the Brian Koppelman and David Levien comedy "Knockaround Guys," then played a corrupt accountant being protected from a notorious crime lord (Simon Majiba) in "The Target" (2002). Continuing to appear in just about anything that came his way, Hopper had starring roles in the romantic comedy "All the Way" (2003), the crime thriller "Out of Season" (2004), and the coming-of-age drama "Americano" (2005). Hopper landed a rare regular series role on television, playing a colonel in the Joints Chief of Staff at the Pentagon in the short-lived military drama, "E-Ring" (NBC, 2005-06). Back to features, he had supporting roles in "Land of the Dead" (2005) and "The Crow: Wicked Prayer" (2005), then appeared in the little-seen psychological thriller "Memory" (2007). Following a cameo in "Entourage" (HBO, 2004- ), Hopper returned to another regular series role, starring in the small screen adaptation of Paul Haggis' "Crash" (Starz, 2008- ), which examined how racial and social issues intersected in various power struggles in Los Angeles. Hopper played lewd record producer Ben Cendars, a self-destructive man struggling to get back on top of his game. It was not long after his move to television that Hopper revealed to the public that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. A brief rush to the hospital from "flu-like symptoms" in late 2009 made headlines, but he appeared to recover quickly before disappearing from the public eye. In January 2010, amidst rumors that his health was declining rapidly, he filed for divorce from his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, after 18 years of marriage and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He passed away from prostate cancer on May 29, 2010. Meanwhile, the acting offers became fewer and farther between, while Hopper began to fade into obscurity as the 1970s progressed. He starred as an Australian gold-digger forced into a life of crime in "Mad Dog" (1976), then played a Vietnam veteran traveling the United States in an increasingly rabid state of paranoia
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