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Actor and director Dennis Hopper dies at 74

May 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Dennis Hopper, best known for his role in "Easy Rider," died Saturday at the age of 74 at his home in Venice.

Hopper's publicist Sam Maydew said the actor passed away at 8:15 a.m. after a battle with prostate cancer. Maydew said Hopper was surrounded by friends and family when he died.

In October 2009, Hopper revealed he was battling an aggressive form of prostate cancer. In March the actor appeared gaunt, weighing less than 100 pounds, as he accepted his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In Hollywood, Hopper seldom played it safe, often playing characters that were dark, complicated and interesting.

Hopper began his career in the mid 1950s landing small parts in the films "Giant" and "Rebel without a Cause." But his career took off in 1969 after directing, co-writing and starring in the counter-culture film "Easy Rider" with Jack Nicolson and Peter Fonda.

Throughout his career Hopper got a reputation for playing maniacal yet endearing characters, such as the photographer in "Apocalypse Now."

His performance in "Hoosiers" earned him an Oscar nomination. He also received acclaim for directing "Colors," the controversial gang film, in 1988.

He still loved playing the occasional bad guy, like the extortionist in "Speed."

Hopper had drama in his personal life too. He had four children and five wives. He served his last wife with divorce papers in January from his death bed after a 14-year marriage.

Dennis Lee Hopper was born in 1936, in Dodge City, Kan. During his career Hopper has appeared in more than 150 films.

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