After the success of yesterday's Christopher Walken musings, I thought it would be nice to send some love to an actor who could really use it these days -- Dennis Hopper. He's battling a serious case of prostate cancer, and a messy divorce that has led to rumors that his wife was trying to kill him. On the plus side, he finally received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame last week, the culmination of almost 200 roles on film and television -- a lot to sift through to figure out a favorite.

In his first feature role, he played a goon in James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause, followed just a year later by a bigger role alongside the young icon -- Jordan Benedict III in Giant. After a decade of short gigs on everything from Zane Grey Theater to The Twilight Zone and Cool Hand Luke, his labor of love made him a star -- Easy Rider. Alongside Peter Fonda, he was the wonderfully disheveled Billy, a young Jerry Garcia-esque stoner awash in leather fringe. His "who's this guy?" looks to Jack Nicholson (thank god he was forced to cast him!) are just priceless.

Certainly Easy Rider isn't the only solid pick, however, whether you love him in Apocalypse Now, Rumble Fish, or River's Edge. There's nothing that quite matches his air-sucking, eerie Frank Booth in Blue Velvet, and while we might want to forget King Koopa, it was quickly followed by Clifford Worley in True Romance. For me, ultimately, it depends on the day, dancing back to Easy Rider some days, and jumping to Blue Velvet others. But what about you?

What's your favorite Dennis Hopper role?
categories Cinematical