He died today reportedly surrounded by friends and family at his modern art-filled Venice home in Los Angeles. He had been fighting prostate cancer since 2009. He was 74. Dennis Hopper was a Hollywood original from the start, memorable despite average looks in small roles in Rebel Without A Cause and Giant while still in his late teens. But it was the actor-writer-director’s cool embrace of the hippie counterculture and stark indictment of straight society in Easy Rider that brought him both fame and acclaim within the movie community — especially after it grossed $40 million at a cost of a mere $350K. Afterward, his very public addiction to drugs and alcohol eclipsed his immense talent, and it took him years to live down that and the failure of his next film The Last Movie. In his later years, Hopper became the consummate character actor in films as polar opposite as Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, Hoosiers as well as Speed, directed Colors, and received two Academy Award nominations.
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