Dennis Hopper, the Oscar-winning acting legend and quirky artist, died on Saturday in suburban Los Angeles after a battle with prostate cancer. He was 74.
Known as one of cinema’s bad boys, Hopper’s acting career was long and varied, full of off-beat and interesting roles, from highs like Apocalypse Now, Rebel Without a Cause, and Hoosiers, to critical lows like The Last Movie and An American Carol, in which he flaunted his later-life Republicanism.
His breakout came with Oscar-nominated Easy Rider, the low-budget motorcycle flick that he wrote, directed and edited, and which perfectly captured the 1969 zeitgeist. But arguably his most memorable role was playing Frank Booth, the addict and sadist in David Lynch’s 1986 film, Blue Velvet.
As a painter, sculptor and photographer, he showed his art all over the world. He was due to visit Melbourne late last year for a salute to his work at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image but cancelled due to his developing illness.
In television his roles were predominantly early in his career: 24, E-Ring, Flatland, Bonanza, The Defenders, The Twilight Zone, Surfside 6, Studio One, Cheyenne, Petticoat Junction, The Time Tunnel, Combat!
He recently starred in an ongoing role in the small screen version of Crash, currently screening on the Showcase channel.