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Dennis Hopper's star shines in Hollywood

March 26, 2010 |  3:37 pm

157453.ME.0326.hopper.08 Months after revealing that he was battling prostate cancer, Dennis Hopper was back in front of the cameras on Friday morning when he received the 2,403th star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

The 73-year-old actor, who disclosed his cancer last October, appeared to be in good spirits as he arrived for  the ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Egyptian Theater. He appeared having lost a significant amount of weight; his face, shaded partly by a newsboy cap, appeared gaunt and a heavy jacket hung off his body.

Joseph Mannis, Hopper’s lawyer, has said that the actor is too weak to participate in a deposition for a divorce case with his wife. Friday’s appearance, however, was approved by Hopper’s doctor, who described the ceremony in court documents as a positive experience for the actor. According to the documents, the physician also said Hopper weighs about 100 pounds.

The atmosphere at the ceremony was cheerful. Hundreds of fans crowded behind metal barricades to snap pictures and cheer for the actor as Leron Gubler, the president and chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, listed Hopper’s numerous credits, which include "Rebel Without a Cause," "Easy Rider," (which he co-wrote, directed and starred in)  "Blue Velvet" and "Speed."

Hopperdaughter Also in attendance were a number of Hopper’s family members, including his young daughter Galen, who was celebrating her seventh birthday. Throughout the proceedings she bounced to her feet to cheer for her father, later posing with her arms around his neck.

Before taking the stage, Hopper listened to tributes from actor Viggo Mortensen and film producer Mark Canton. Also in attendance were “Easy Rider” co-star Jack Nicholson, "Blue Velvet" director David Lynch and philanthropist Eli Broad.  

“In the short attention span of most moviegoers and critics, he is someone who has seemed to regularly rise out of the ashes of self-inflicted chaos, surprising us with his originality and wit as an artist and defying the odds by somehow staying alive physically and professionally,” said Mortensen, who greeted Hopper with a large kiss on the cheek. The two costarred in 1991’s “The Indian Runner” and 1993’s “Boiling Point.”

Hopper was helped up to the stage by aides. His speech was slightly labored but his words were clear and heartfelt. After introducing his family, the actor shared a poignant moment to explain why he had bandages on his arm and above his eye.

“I want to thank the paparazzi,” he began, “because yesterday I got up — I’ve been working for this day, to look as good as possible to look as strong as possible.”

He explained that when leaving his house on Thursday, he heard someone yell his name. He thought it was a friend but it was actually the paparazzi. When he turned around, he lost his balance, falling directly on his face due to lack of "muscles," he said.

“So I got pretty screwed up,” he said. “Anyway, I know you have a tough job, but sometimes maybe you ought to be a little more sensitive.”

Hopper has become a tabloid staple since January, when he filed for divorce after 14 years of marriage to his wife, Victoria. A much publicized battle has ensued between the couple, with Victoria claiming in court filings that Hopper is trying to rob her of her inheritance. Hopper has denied the claim.

Nick After the ceremony, Hopper’s closest friends milled about before heading to a private luncheon. Broad, who hugged Hopper for a few moments, reinforced his friend’s message that the paparazzi should respect people’s privacy.

“I think Dennis is a great person, a great asset to the film industry, to the art world and to Los Angeles,” he said. “So you can’t pay attention to what some of these tabloid stories are about. He’s a great friend.”

The two became close through the art world, and Broad revealed that the Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown Los Angeles will have its own Hopper exhibit this summer.

Actor Clifton Collins Jr., whose grandfather Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez was a studio contract player with Hopper, said he was glad Hopper addressed the tabloid situation.

“The tabloids can be pretty mean and insensitive,” he said. “It’s like, come on. You love his work, why do you want to kick a man when he’s down? Why not give him some love and some hope and support him and appreciate what he’s given us?”

— Amy Kaufman

Check out our interactive Walk of Fame feature to learn more about Dennis Hopper's career. A photo gallery of the history of the famous sidewalk can be found here.

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 current Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, James Cameron, Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep.

Photos: (From top) Dennis Hopper receives his star on the Walk of Fame, poses with his daughter Galen and former costar Jack Nicholson. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (8)

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I had the luck to meet Dennis Hopper in Mexicali , Mexico when he was scouting for movie locations . I couln't believe it when I saw him cross the border into Mexico. I nearly shouted DENNIS, he removed his sunglasses slowly and stared at me . I have seen most of your movies I said, River's edge , Hoosiers, Blue Velvet, you are a great actor. His intense stare softened and I think he was a little surprised to find a big fan in Mexicali. He told me he was scouting for locations and allowed me to hang out with him for a while. After walking around a few blocks I told him I lived in the Hotel del Norte across the
street and I wanted him to sign my vhs copy of Blue Velvet. He was truly pleased when I handed it to him and signed it. I invited him to eat but he said he had to go in a while. Two girlfriends arrived and recognized him. "Es el malo" (he is the bad guy) they said. Dennis smiled and said in spanish Si,muy malo(yes, very bad). He was a real gentleman. I think his Star on the walk of fame is long overdue. He is truly a great actor.

Dennis looks like Salvator Dali now. I wonder if he has one more film in him!

god bless dennis easy rider was a great show but my favorite character he played was the photographer ( whatever happended to him when martin sheen left the compund with lance?)

Dennis A true icon!

we all are praying that a miracle happens and to st jude for dennis hopper to become healthy again
and thank him and others who made cinema
not corporate cartoons
god bless dennis hopper
and yea a movie
with jack and peter fonda
dennis damn the torpedoes man

Like Miles, Dennis is just a cool guy. Thank you for your art and wit. Cheers to Dennis Hopper.

- Smoggy in Silverlake

meeting you many years ago, with Michael J. Pollard, I was impressed, I was with a true hollywod movie star, not just a great actor. And your average guy came from growing up where you came from. You deserved this honor years ago, as with Jack, Warren, Clint, and Gene Hackman, all the real talent, real men, and true icons are all going to be missed. I have known Michael J. for 40 years, and he'll be 71 in May, and all this talent like yourself aren"t cherished more. I worked on 36 oeriod films and feel its not as much fun in my 60's as years passed, because there isn't any talent out there, its about pride and class. You my friend have it, and wish you well in your health, God Bless you, we all LOVE YOU, Thanks for listening, Arthur J. Tedeschi, Jr.

God bless him. However, I thinks it's shameful that the male ego has one producing children at such an advanced age. Even if he were to die of natural causes, he be dead or incapacitated by age, by the time the kid graduates high school.


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