Dennis Hopper was a serious actor with almost 150 movie credits. His first movie was Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. He was also in Giant. These just happen to be 2 of the 3 films made by James Dean before his death in an auto accident. Hopper had his biggest hit when he co-wrote Easy Rider, his 23rd film. About 2 freewheeling, independent cyclists, Easy Rider made 60 million dollars when released. It set a house record in its first viewing and became the 4th best grossing film of 1969. It was nominated for 20 major awards and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for beginning actor Jack Nicholson in his first major role. Beginning in 1954 Dennis Hopper made 64 TV appearances. His last TV performance was on Crash. This 26 episode series became the first one produced by Starz and was made into the controversial movie that won the Academy Award as the Best Picture of 2005.
Dennis Hopper always loved New Mexico. He saw this state while filming Easy Rider and moved there to live in 1970. He bought the Mabel Dodge Luhan house in Taos. Mabel Dodge Luhan was a major and prickly resident of this New Mexican town by then. She had built a very large and imposing adobe house there that had more than 20 rooms, and she entertained celebrities almost continuously. One of the more famous guests who became a serious friend of hers was controversial writer D. H. Lawrence of Lady Chatterly’s Lover fame. Her house is now a hotel and conference center. Ruth and I saw this house in 1999 and liked it a lot. We also visited the Kit Carson Museum and learned much about this famous Western icon who put down deep roots in Taos.
Dennis Hopper lived in Mabel Dodge Luhan’s house for 7 years. He moved away from Taos but could not get it off his mind and moved back. He had bought the El Cortez movie theater in this town and turned its projection room into his bedroom. Hopper also used the El Cortez as an art studio. Before he died in 2010 in Los Angeles, Dennis Hopper requested to be buried in Taos. He was.
Some consider Hoosiers to be Dennis Hopper’s best film. We plan to watch it for the first time before I report on our return to Taos in 2021. I talked to a verbose man at the award-winning Millicent Rogers Museum in this New Mexican town. This tour guide told me that this was one of his favorite films. We’ll see about that.
PS The 2 small pictures above are from wallpaperflare.com.