Latest news coming out has said that Dennis Hopper the actor’s treatment will not include chemotherapy, as his prostate cancer is terminal.
People are already writing him off as dead, but Patrick Swayze received more attention through the press through his ongoing battles, and all he did was Road House. Why not Hopper?
Dennis Hopper was more than just ‘that’ actor. He was an established artist. And not just an actor who dabbled in a bit of painting, but a deep, philosophical kind of guy with a great history throughout the New Hollywood movement.
Sounds like I’m giving the man a standing ovation, but unlike most ‘artists’, Dennis was also a great photographer, filmmaker and painter.
He was a part of the big movements of the anti-establishment. He walked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. during the memorable moments of the equal rights movement, capturing those pivotal moments with his camera. He hung out with Andy Warhol in New York, and both had made representations of each other through art.
His early work highlighted the actor within him, and started to get a lot of attention. Working with James Dean on Rebel Without a Cause and Giant exposed him to a newer way of acting that wasn’t so scripted, and added naturalism to the screen.
‘From Hell to Texas’ also taught him the struggles betwen director and actor, and conflicts about his acting style drove him off the Hollywood circuit for eight years.
This is when the artist within Hopper came to be. James Dean’s encouragement to keep taking photographs inspired him to grow out the hair and use his camera, capturing what became a huge hit with his photography work from ’61 to ’67.
Writing, directing and acting in 1969′s Easy Rider kickstarted the low-budget, hippy anti-establishment films of the 60′s and 70′s. His part as a whacked out photographer in Apocalypse Now was a great appearance, but wasn’t the best for his public image as people considered it to be a representation of the man. But he ignored it all, and went on to be in the wonderful Blue Velvet.
He kept close to independent films as they represented true filmmaking, and kept with his artistic side. But when he acted as Keanu Reeve’s villain in Speed, it was his new Hollywood stamp as “Hey, aren’t you that guy…?”.
He’s had five wives (one of which lasted for six days), gone through alcohol and substance abuse in the 70′s and survived to tell the tale.
There has been more success for him as an artist in Europe than the US, and now with his cancer being labelled terminal, it’s a tragic piece of news to hear about the man who had offered so much art about to pass on.
He’s lived a full life, and contributed deeply to the arts, and I wanted to give a shout-out to the champion of the arts who was one of the leaders of counter-culture.
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