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Dennis Hopper dies at 74

Actor, director and Hollywood bad boy Dennis Hopper died Saturday at his home in Venice, Calif. He was 74 and had been treated for cancer in the past year.

He was perhaps best known for his role in the 1969 cult classic "Easy Rider," which he also directed. The film made a star of Jack Nicholson.

Early in his career, Hopper appeared opposite James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant," and later cultivated a reputation playing weirdos: a drug-addled Vietnam War photographer in Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now"; a drunken assistant coach in "Hoosiers"; a mad bomber in "Speed"; and most notably in David Lynch's 1987 cult classic "Blue Velvet," in which he played a gas-sniffing sadist named Frank Booth.

"I didn't have any problem understanding Frank," he said. "He was just your basic middle-class degenerate. I understood that. I've been a middle-class degenerate most of my life."

Here's the iconic opening scene of "Easy Rider," with Hopper and Peter Fonda riding out into the heart of America on their chopped Harleys, all to the rib-rocking soundtrack of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild." A word of caution to viewers: This video -- and almost every video from Dennis Hopper, it seems -- does contain profanity:

By Matt Schudel  |  May 29, 2010; 1:27 PM ET
 
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Comments

Slowly, slowly, the golden age known as the sixties is slipping away from living memory.

Rest in peace, man.

Posted by: mscommerce | May 29, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

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