Saturday, May 29, 2010

"One through nine, no maybes, no supposes, no fractions." RIP Dennis Hopper

Dennis Hopper died a few hours ago. (As I write, the NYTimes and IMDB haven't gotten the news yet.)

He played pretty boys in his early days, but often pretty boys with something broken inside, like Billy Clanton in "Gunfight at O.K. Corral," or his too-seldom-seen turn as a self-loathing American Nazi Peter Vollmer, just ripe for the picking, on "The Twilight Zone." And then, just when you think you have a bead on him, up comes easy ridin' Billy, or the unnamed Vietnam photojournalist, or the aching-for-redemption Shooter, or -- heaven help us -- Frank Booth.

For a Hollywood icon, he reinvented himself pretty regularly. (And, although I must have known this at the time, his performances in "Hoosiers" and "Blue Velvet" were the same year, 1986. Where did he find places like that inside himself?)

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