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Hollywood wildman Hopper dies at 74
Star of cult classics Easy Rider and Blue Velvet dies of cancer at home in LA.
Last Modified: 30 May 2010 03:02 GMT
Hopper's rollercoaster career saw him frequently clash with Hollywood establishment [AFP]

US film actor and director Dennis Hopper has died from prostate cancer at the age of 74.

He died on Saturday morning at his home in Venice, Los Angeles, surrounded by family and friends.

Hopper was best known for both directing and starring in the 1969 low budget cult classic Easy Rider alongside Peter Fonda and a then little known new comer Jack Nicholson.

The film was one of several high points in Hopper's rollercoaster career that also saw the star chose a series of dud roles and spend several spells in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.

He was often gripped by paranoid delusions and in one episode in 1982, while filming Jungle Warriors in Mexico, he ran naked into the jungle, convinced World War Three had started.

Hopper, centre, alongside Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson in 1969's Easy Rider [AP]

He was put on a plane home but jumped out onto the wing as it was about to take
off, fearful that the plane was on fire.

Upon his return, he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for three months.

He was nominated for two Oscars: The first for co-writing the script for Easy Rider and the second was for his role in the 1986 drama Hoosiers.

But Hopper considered his role as a psychotic villain in David Lynch's Blue Velvet to be the finest performance of his career.

The quintessential Hollywood hellraiser, he gained a reputation as a talented but erratic performer because of his tantrums and abuse of alcohol and drugs.

On the set of True Grit, Hopper was said to have so enraged John Wayne that the star reportedly chased Hopper with a loaded gun.

Hopper became ill last September but continued working up until his death.

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