Born on a wheat farm in Dodge City, KS in 1936, Hopper eventually moved with his family eventually to San Diego. His life and career is worth reading about. Saying he was the co-writer and director of Easy Rider only begins to scratch the surface of this man’s talents.
My interest in Hopper stems from his involvement in the arts scene in LA in the 50’s and 60’s. He was a collector and supporter; his photography of this era also made him a contributor. His first wife gave him a Nikon and he had it with him whereever he went.
To supply more details to this multifaceted individual, Hopper involved himself in amateur theater once he was in California. He was noticed by Hollywood and was signed. In the 50’s Hollywood would sign a “stable” of young actors to a multi-picture contract. Then every movie that came out had the same group of actors. Hence “Rebel without a Cause” and “Giant” had many of the same actors.
The first rebel was James Dean – with his success there came the feeling that the studios had too much control. This attitude was not lost on Hopper who was close to Dean. With Dean’s untimely death, Hopper was next up to challenge the status quo – and challenge he did!
There aren’t many roller coasters that have more ups and downs than Hopper had in his life. If I had one person I’d love to have dinner with, this is the person.