The NYDaily News
, the hard-living Hollywood icon who directed and
starred in the classic "Easy Rider" before sobering up for an acclaimed
second act in a remarkable career, died Saturday.
The actor, whose critically-hailed performances dated back to "Rebel
Without A Cause" opposite mentor James Dean, died of complications from
prostate cancer at his Venice, Calif., home.
He was 74. Hopper - who was in the middle of a contentious divorce with
his fifth wife - was surrounded by family and friends, according to
Hopper earned a pair of Oscar nominations that reflected his wildly
disparate talents: the first for co-writing 1969's cult classic "Easy
Rider," and the second for his portrayal of an alcoholic hoops coach in
"Hoosiers" nearly two decades later.
The latter role came after Hopper, one of Hollywood's most unremitting
drug and alcohol abusers, beat his addictions and restarted his career -
including roles in the quirky "Blue Velvet" and the big budget "Speed."
Hopper co-wrote "Easy Rider" with co-star Peter Fonda and Terry
Southern, creating a low-budget biker flick that become a blockbuster.
The movie also starred an unknown Jack Nicholson as a hard-drinking
attorney. Across his five-decade career, Hopper also starred in Francis
Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" as a demented photographer and in
"Giant" opposite Dean.
He directed the Los Angeles gang movie "Colors," starring Robert Duvall
and Sean Penn - who was so impressed that he later named his son Hopper.
The veteran actor first fell ill last September, but continued working
on the cable television program "Crash"
despite the cancer.
The counterculture hero received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
just two months ago.