Raised on a farm in Dodge City, KS
Moved with family to San Diego, CA
After high school acted with the Pasadena Playhouse in California
Film acting debut in "Rebel Without a Cause" starring James Dean
Made TV debut on an episode of "Medic" (NBC) as a young epileptic
Again cast opposite Dean in "Giant"
Involved in legendary conflict with director Henry Hathaway on the set of "From Hell to Texas"; reportedly did over 100 takes of a simple scene before giving the requested line reading
Dropped from contract at Warner Bros.; left Hollywood for New York and studied acting with Lee Strasberg for five years
Began career as photographer; appeared in Andy Warhol's "Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of" (1963)
Starred on Broadway in "Mandingo" with Franchot Tone
First feature starring role, "Night Tide"; written and directed by Curtis Harrington
First collaboration with Peter Fonda, "The Trip"; a low-budget cult film directed by Roger Corman
Feature directing and co-writing debut (also co-starred), "Easy Rider"; shared Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern
Credited as co-writer of documentary about himself, "The American Dreamer"
Made the financially and critically failed, "The Last Movie" with Peter Fonda and Michelle Phillips; film's only success was winning the Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival
Acted in several low budget, independent films
Won renewed attention for small but showy role in Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now"
Acted in the controversial role of Frank, a nitrous oxide sniffing thug, in David Lynch's "Blue Velvet"
Earned Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his protrayal of an alcoholic basketball fan in "Hoosiers"
Directed the critically acclaimed feature "Colors" starring Robert Duvall and Sean Penn
Exhibited photography in USA, Tokyo and Europe
Helmed (also co-starred) the noir romance "Catchfire"; removed his name after post-production trouble (credited under the fictional pseudonym Alan Smithee)
Acted in Sean Penn's feature directorial debut "The Indian Runner"
Earned an Emmy nomination for Showtime's "Paris Trout"
Had villainous role as a mad bomber in the hit film "Speed"
Played the villain, Deacon in "Waterworld"
Was the subject of the documentary "Dennis Hopper: L.A. Blues"
Displayed romantic side in a richly realized, change-of-pace characterization of a Midwestern farmer in "Carried Away"
Cast as Mickey Wayne in "The Blackout"
Portrayed Frank Slater in the comedy feature "Meet The Deedles"
Played Matthew McConaughey's father in "Edtv"
Portrayed villain Victor Drazen in the first season of the FOX series "24"
Cast in the crime comedy "Knockaround Guys"
Starred as Frank in Steve Balderson's thriller, "Firecracker"
Appeared on the NBC's "Las Vegas" as head of the Montecito Hotel and Casino's sister operation in Louisiana
Starred in "10th and Wolf" an indie film based on a story by Bobby Moresco and Chazz Palminteri
Cast opposite Billy Zane in the psychological thriller, "Memory"
Co-starred with Charlize Theron and Nick Stahl in the indie drama, "Sleepwalking"
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Voiced the character of Tony in the animated feature, "Alpha and Omega"; his final feature film project