The odyssey of Dennis Hopper has been one of Hollywood’s longest, strangest trips. A onetime teen performer, he went through a series of career metamorphoses — studio pariah, rebel filmmaker, drug casualty, and comeback kid — before finally settling comfortably into the role of character actor par excellence, with a rogues’ gallery of killers and freaks unmatched in psychotic intensity and demented glee. Along the way, Hopper defined a generation, documenting the shining hopes and bitter disappointments of the hippie counterculture and bringing their message to movie screens everywhere. By extension, he spearheaded a revolt in the motion picture industry, forcing the studio establishment to acknowledge a youth market they’d long done their best to deny.
Born May 17, 1936 in Dodge City, Kansas, Hopper began acting during his teen years, and made his professional debut on the TV series Medic. In 1955 he made a legendary collaboration with the director Nicholas Ray in the… read more