by Peter Winkler
From his lonely childhood in Kansas to his drug-fueled days and nights in Hollywood, Dennis Hopper’s amazing life was a roller-coaster series of triumphs and failures. Here are five revelations about Hopper that provide a glimpse into his turbulent life and character.
1. Dennis Hopper hated his parents.
After crashing a Hollywood party one evening, Hopper told writer Gwen Davis, “I come from Kansas, which is nowhere. And I hate my parents, who are no one.” “When I moved to San Diego, I told my parents I wanted to take acting lessons, and they were horrified at the idea,” he later said. “I didn’t love either one of them, very honestly. They weren’t bad — like, this isn’t a monster story — but I just felt out of place. They thought I should be a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer, and that being an actor was a life of becoming a bum — and this was not an acceptable occupation.” On the set of Rebel Without a Cause, Hopper told James Dean why he became a actor. “I told him how much I hated my home life, the rules, the regimentation. I told him what a nightmare my home life had been, everybody neurotic because they weren’t doing what they wanted to do, and yelling at me when I wanted to be creative, because creative people ‘end up in bars.’”
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