Ministry of Gossip

The gospel on celebrity and pop culture

« Previous Post | Ministry of Gossip Home | Next Post »

Dennis Hopper dead at 74 after long battle with prostate cancer

May 29, 2010 | 11:26 am
Dennis Hopper

Actor Dennis Hopper died Saturday at his Venice home of complications from prostate cancer, a friend of the actor said.

Hopper, whose battle with the disease was revealed in October, was 74.

In addition to his illness, Hopper had made headlines recently in light of the messy divorce proceedings with wife Victoria Duffy; he accused Duffy of stealing $1.5 million worth of his art.

But on this day we forget the scandal.

He gave us photography. He gave us art. He gave us "Easy Rider." 

More from the Los Angeles Times obituary:

Easy Rider In a more than five-decade acting career that was influenced early on by working with James Dean and studying at the Actors Studio, he made his film debut as one of the high school gang members who menace Dean in the 1955 classic "Rebel Without a Cause.

Hopper went on to appear in more than 115 films, including "Giant," "Cool Hand Luke," "Hang 'Em High," "True Grit," "Apocalypse Now," "The American Friend," "Rumble Fish," "Speed," "True Romance" and "River's Edge."

But it's his role as the long-haired, pot-smoking biker Billy opposite Peter Fonda's Wyatt (Captain America) in the hit movie "Easy Rider" that gave Hopper his most enduring claim to fame.

The low-budget tale of two bikers on an ultimately tragic cross-country odyssey after scoring a big cocaine sale, "Easy Rider" became a generational touchstone.

The movie, which boasted a star-making performance from a little-known Jack Nicholson as a boozy small-town lawyer who goes along for the ride and gets his first taste of marijuana, set old-guard Hollywood back on its heels.

Earlier this year, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Share with us your favorite Hopper film(s) below in the comments.

--Yvonne Villarreal

Top photo: Dennis Hopper earlier this year. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Hopper and Peter Fonda in 1969's "Easy Rider." Credit: Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.

Hollywood Star Walk

A new Times database puts readers on the sidewalks of Hollywood, using more than a century of archives to track the lives of the stars, including recent Oscar winners Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock and recent honorees Dennis Hopper and Russell Crowe

Want the headlines? Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter (we're @LATcelebs) and find us on Facebook at Say you 'like' us and the Ministry headlines will flow.


Clicking on Green Links will take you to a third-party e-commerce site. These sites are not operated by the Los Angeles Times. The Times Editorial staff is not involved in any way with Green Links or with these third-party sites.