Dennis Hopper (American, May 17, 1936–May 29, 2010) was an actor, artist, and filmmaker known for his realistic portrayals of drug addicts and eccentric characters. He showed great interest in acting and other art forms from an early age, and, as a young man, he studied at the Actors'' Studio in New York and the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Hopper’s first film role was a small part in Rebel Without a Cause, which starred James Dean. He had several other movie parts as a young man, but, in 1955, he had an argument with director Henry Hathaway while filming From Hell to Texas. Hathaway had him blacklisted, and Hopper was unable to get another film role for seven years.

During this period, the artist moved to New York and had a successful stage and television career before returning to film in 1961. Hopper studied method acting with Lee Strasberg (American, 1901-1982) during his time in New York, and became known as an intense character actor. However, during the 1960s, he also developed a significant problem with drugs and alcohol, which had a significant negative impact on his work. Although he had the occasional major or even starring role, such as his iconic performances in Easy Rider (1968) and Apocalypse Now (1979), he was considered too unreliable for most major roles. His skill enabled him to make a living starring in smaller films or taking supporting roles in major ones. In 1983, he entered a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program and remained sober for the rest of his life. During the latter part of his career, he became known as a prolific actor who bragged that he never refused a role. His portrayal of drug addicts and deranged characters was particularly noteworthy, such as his role as Frank Booth in David Lynch''s Blue Velvet (1986).

Hopper was also a painter, poet, and photographer. Unfortunately, much of his early work was destroyed when a wildfire burned his home in Bel Air. He was best known for his photographs, particularly his intimate portraits of many of his famous friends. One of his most popular works was a portrait of Ike Turner (American, 1931–2007) and Tina Turner (American, b.1937), which was used as the cover art for their 1966 single River Deep-Mountain High. Hopper''s work was collected in the book Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961–1967 (2011). His photography is still being shown, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles, CA, in 2010. Hopper died on May 29, 2010.

Timeline

1936
Born in Dodge City, Kansas on May 17
2010
Died at 74 on May 29

Exhibitions

2010
Dennis Hopper Double Standard, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
2009
"Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968", Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland
2008
"Time & Place: Los Angeles, 1958-1968", Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
1999–2000
International traveling Retrospective Exhibition,
1998
Dennis Hopper, Sundance, UT
1998
Dennis Hopper: Abstract Reality, Parco Gallery Tokyo, Japan
1997
Dennis Hopper: The Sixties, The Eighties and Now, Fred Hoffman Fine Art Santa Monica, CA
1997
Dennis Hopper, Center for Photographic Arts Carmel, CA
1997
Photo Op: Tim Burton, Dennis Hopper, David Lynch, John Waters, The Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, OH
1997
1 Minute Scenario: Printemps de Cahors Photography Festival, Museum of Fine Arts Cahors
1997
Director's Cut, Thomas Nordanstad Gallery Stockholm, Sweden
1996–1997
Exhibition and Film Series, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA
1996
Color Photography, Ochi Fine Art Ketchum, ID
1996
"New Photographs", Tony Shafrazi Gallery NYC
1996
Ochi Gallery Ketchum, ID
1996
"Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945", Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, CA
1995
"George Herms, From There and Then to Here and Now...", Tony Shafrazi Gallery NYC
1995
"Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965", Whitney Museum of American Art NYC
1995
"Photographs 1961-1967", Karolinum Prague, Czech Republic
1994
Photographic Resource Center Boston, MA
1994
Kiyomuizu Temple Kyoto, Japan
1994
Parco Gallery Tokyo, Japan
1993
"Bad Heat: Photographs and Paintings, 1961-1993", Fronto Colom, University Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain
1992
"Dennis Hopper and Ed Ruscha", Ed Ruscha, Tony Shafrazi Gallery NYC
1992
"Dennis Hopper: Fotos und Gemälde", Aktionsforum City-Center Fürth, Germany