Actor. Born: May 17, 1936, Dodge City, Kansas. Died: May 29, 2010, Venice, California.
A very good actor can play all kinds of roles successfully. Kansan Dennis Hopper played a number of homicidal villains, but also quite sympathetic characters. Born in Dodge City, Hopper spent a number of years on his grandparents’ farm while his father was in the military. Dennis and his family moved around some and ended up in California.
After high school Hopper worked as a stage hand and then started to get small acting roles. At 19 he had a movie contract with Warner Brothers. Hopper had alcohol and drug problems. His breakout role in Easy Rider with Peter Fonda brought him more movie work but his addictions continued to worsen. In 1984 he was hospitalized for his problems. Instead of letting his addictions kill him, he joined Alcoholics Anonymous, completed his treatment plan, and gave up alcohol and drugs.
Hopper returned to work in 1986 and was nominated for an Oscar for his role as a sober alcoholic basketball coach in the movie Hoosiers. Hopper showed his skills as a director and appeared in or directed well over 40 films. He also made a number of television appearances. In addition Hopper was also an artist.
Entry: Hopper, Dennis
Author: G. Joseph Pierron
Author information: Judge Pierron serves on the Kansas Court of Appeals and has an interest in Kansas history.
Date Created: November 2012
Date Modified: May 2013
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.