Dennis Hopper - 1936-2010

Dennis Hopper RIP 1936-2010.

Actor, director, writer, photographer and artist Dennis Hopper died on 29 May at the age of 74. Here, fans and old friends pay tribute

Icons of anti-establishment rebellion don’t come purer than Dennis Hopper. From those early method-infused scene-stealing turns opposite James Dean to the creation and maintenance of enduring hippie flick Easy Rider and onto the many psychos and weirdoes he later made his forte to play, Hopper was loved by cineastes and fan boys alike. He was a one-off. At the dying of the light we salute you Mr Hopper.

Eddie Harrison, screenwriter/journalist
‘When Martin Sheen goes up the river on his journey to madness in Apocalypse Now, bumping into Hopper is a key moment; Hopper had the aura of an authentic madman, and to have him as warm-up man for Brando’s Colonel Kurtz was a masterstroke on Coppola’s part’

Miles Fielder, writer
‘How do you pay tribute to a man whose career as an actor and director not only spanned six decades, but whose life and art defined the psychedelic era? In lieu of writing a big, thick book about him, I’ll plump for a favourite scene in one of his films. It’s the image of Hopper gleefully insulting Christopher Walken’s gangster in True Romance moments before he’s murdered. Not, perhaps, an obvious choice, but it beautifully illustrates the man’s admirable anti-authoritarianism.’

Alistair Harkness, writer/journalist
‘I love Hopper as Feck, the ex-biker hermit who deals pot to Crispin Glover in River’s Edge. When I was 16 it was my favourite film; I love how effortlessly Hopper plays on his Easy Rider legacy, making the link between the failures of 60s hippy culture and the blank generation that would in time spawn Nirvana. Cheque’s in the mail ...’

Mark Cousins, writer/broadcaster
‘I met Hopper. He used to come to Scotland to play golf, so I gave him a book about the great artist Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Scottish garden, Little Sparta. He wanted me to take him there, I never got the chance to. It’s his handsomeness, cigar smoke, personal and creative passions that I will remember.’

Allan Hunter, festival director/journalist
‘Hopper was the rebel poet of the counterculture era. Easy Rider captured a unique moment in the life of America and challenged the Hollywood mindset for good and bad. Hopper’s talent shone sufficiently (Out Of The Blue, Colors, Blue Velvet etc) to make you lament the vast mediocrity apparent throughout much of his 50-year film career.’

Madame X (real name withheld), artist
‘I knew Dennis. For a short time, a long time ago, we were lovers. He was a nihilistic reprobate but so much fun to be with, in and out of bed. His photography was amazing; to me he was up there with Bailey and Duffy. Years later, when I saw some of the terrible films he was in, I would wish he had stuck to that. They do say you end up doing the thing you are second best at.’

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